What If?: Military Historians Imagine What Might Have BeenPaperback
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- Publisher: Pan Books
- Format: Paperback | 448 pages
- Dimensions: 130mm x 196mm x 32mm | 180g
- Publication date: 4 June 2001
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 0330487248
- ISBN 13: 9780330487245
- Illustrations note: 25 black & white illustrations
- Sales rank: 84,903
'Anyone interested in military history or indeed history in general will find it fascinating to read' - "Spectator". "What If?" is a collection of counterfactual essays dealing with military events. Concentrating on some of the most intriguing military history turning points of the last 3,000 years, twenty celebrated historians, including Alistair Horne and John Keegan, have come together to produce a group of essays that enhance our current understanding of decisive events. 'Pure, almost illicit pleasure. What makes these essays tremendously diverting is how little they strain one's sense of credibility' - Andrew Roberts, "Sunday Telegraph". 'These informed, elegant essays authoritively analyse incidents over the past 3,000 years' - "The Times". 'One of the delights of the book is that broad speculative analysis is built from a mass of exciting detail. This make for a top-class bed-side read' - "Financial Times".
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Robert Cowley is the Editor-in-Chief of MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History - the most popular history magazine in the United States. The authors are some of the best known British and American historians writing today.
"'Anyone interested in military history or indeed history in general will find it fascinating to read.' Spectator 'Pure, almost illicit pleasure... What makes these essays tremendously diverting is how little they strain one's sense of credibility.' Andrew Roberts, Sunday Telegraph 'These informed, elegant essays authoritively analyse incidents over the past 3,000 years.' The Times 'One of the delights of the book is that broad speculative analysis is built from a mass of exciting detail. This make for a top-class bed-side read.' Financial Times"
As an exercise, this has been done before, both in fiction and in academic writing, but it remains a popular game. A selection of top-class historians and writers make claims for how close history was to being different, and what the outcomes could have been. Thus, we have John Keegan on a Hitlerian victory, Geoffrey Parker on the triumph of the Spanish Armada against the English in 1588, Alistair Horne on Napoleon's triumph at Waterloo, and Victor Davis Hanson on the defeat of the putative Greek empire by the Persian in 480 BC, among many others. Fascinating and sobering. (Kirkus UK)