The Collected What If? Eminent Historians Imagine What Might Have Been

The Collected What If? Eminent Historians Imagine What Might Have Been

The Collected What If Eminent Historians Imagine What Might Have Been Historians and philosophers alike have pondered the crucial turning points of history the events that forever altered the course of civilization and set the stage for the world in which we live today

  • Title: The Collected What If? Eminent Historians Imagine What Might Have Been
  • Author: Robert Cowley
  • ISBN: 9781435118256
  • Page: 430
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Historians and philosophers alike have pondered the crucial turning points of history the events that forever altered the course of civilization and set the stage for the world in which we live today In these essays, some of the most respected minds of our time as the question What if Pontius Pilate hadn t ordered Jesus Christ s crucifixion Abraham Lincoln hadn t aHistorians and philosophers alike have pondered the crucial turning points of history the events that forever altered the course of civilization and set the stage for the world in which we live today In these essays, some of the most respected minds of our time as the question What if Pontius Pilate hadn t ordered Jesus Christ s crucifixion Abraham Lincoln hadn t abolished slavery A Confederate aide hadn t accidentally lost General Robert E Lee s plans for invading the North The Allied invasion of D Day had failed Pope Pius XII had spoken out against the Holocaust The Mongols had succeeded in conquering Europe Both fascinating and frightening, The Collected What If offers in depth reflections on the monumental events of the past and amazing speculations as to what our world might be like had things gone differently in a singular moment in time.

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      Published :2019-08-26T03:15:18+00:00

    119 Comment

    Very interesting collection of counterfactuals, or hypothetical historical scenarios in which one or more parameters are changed, and possible alternate outcomes are examined. Since this is a large collection of pieces by different authors the quality and interest vary through the book, but on the whole I liked reading most of them and some were very compelling. Some examples: * During the Ming Dynasty China had an impressive fleet commanded by the very capable Zheng He. What if this fleet had b [...]

    Actually two books in one. This is a collection of essays by many well-known historians discussing the "what if's" of history. For example, what if Jesus hadn't died on the cross or D-Day had failed?Bad things about the book1) it's very long (over 800 pages). My copy is hardback, which makes it even worse to carry around.2) There are certain periods (especially WWII) that have many essays, while other periods are skipped through very quickly.3) the essays vary greatly in quality most are easy to [...]

    This was a fascinating book. What was great was that it not only provided alternate ideas to history, but it also gave a great background on those historical episodes as well, so I learned a lot about world history even as I got to enjoy the "what if" scenarios of an imagined different history. The first volume was a little bit harder to wade through as it was strictly military history, but the second volume expanded to a multitude of scenarios such as if Pope Pius XII had publicly denounced the [...]

    Great collection of essays by prominent historians that look at alternative, or in the parlance of the historian counterfactual, history. Some of it is scary, such as the prospect of Europe as conquered by the Mongols (which was in fact more likely to have happened than not), some of it amusing (such as when Robert E. Lee's army holds fast on Cemetery Ridge outside Gettysburg following the victory at Antietam. I've never before considered the Franco Prussian War to be the single most important e [...]

    A great collection of well-written essays, and a fresh way to learn about significant (though sometimes less known) historical moments. Helps one remember how little control mankind has over the outcome of major events and how much we really do rely on, what one might call, miracle or grace.

    3.5 Stars What if scenarios are one of my favorite history topics. The alternate history works of Harry Turtledove are some of the first non-Star Trek fiction I remember reading. This book is two collections together. The first one is definitely better than the 2nd one. My main issue was that too many of the essays spent so much time on the "what actually happened" part that they neglected the "What if" parts. Several of them also fell into the trap of "and then Western Civilization as we know i [...]

    What would have happened if Jesus hadn't been crucified, if Midway had gone the way the numbers said it should, if the Spanish armada had won? And many more scenarios that could have wound up differently had something - something small - happened another way. Written by world-renowned historians, these are tantalizing thoughts, intriguing What Ifs. Because it's a compilation of so many different people the writing is somewhat uneven; because I don't know as much about all the situations they wri [...]

    I found many of the questions to be thoughtful, if slightly predictable, counter-factuals and appreciated the manner in which the author(s) were able to provide evidence for their hypothetical outcomes. Some of the questions, and alternative histories, were composed well enough to deepen my appreciation for the real history of events.

    Some of these counterfactual conjectures are fascinating. My favorites include David McCullough's "What the Fog Wrought," the Revolution's Dukirk, August 29, 1776; Stephen E. Ambrose's "D Day Fails;" and Robert Cowley's "The Soviet Invasion of Japan."

    Fascinating look at a lot of turning points in history, and how things might have been different if they had turned differently.

    Very interesting historical scenarios. It's an anthology so the writing isn't all consistently great, but most essays are excellent.

    This book is the "collected works" of two previous "What If" books edited by Robert Cowley. Each chapter is written by a different historian, and they focus on time periods that range from the ancient world (What if the Persians had conquered Greece in 480 BC) to the end of World War II (what if the United States had not used the atomic bomb against Japan). The chapters vary a little in their length and in their focus; some chapters are primarily about what did happen, with a coda at the end abo [...]

    Schicksalsstunden der MenschheitsgeschichteDieses Werk ist leider falsch betitelt, denn es geht nur sehr wenig um das "was wäre wenn". Ein besserer Titel wäre gewesen "Schicksalsstunden der Geschichte" oder in der Art, denn die Beschreibung dieser entscheidenden Tage macht den Hauptteil des Bandes aus. Von der fehlgeschlagenen Eroberung Jerusalems gegen 700 v.Chr. über die Schlacht im Teutoburger Wald und die Schlacht der Franken gegen die Mauren bei Poitiers, bis hin zu Napoleon und dem Zwei [...]

    I've always been interested in history, and once I found the alternate history genre, it opened a whole new imaginative world for me. Thinking about how the quirks of history have caused things to turn out a certain way, and trying to figure out what would have happened if people had made different choices can be fun, harmless exercises. Sometimes they allow a greater understanding of the events in question. At least, that's the premise behind the two volumes in What If? Eminent Historians Imagi [...]

    I read this piecemeal through the year - a story here and a story there. Since they're all different this works fine.This is a big 800 page book combining "What If?" and "What If? 2" into a single volume. The book is a collection of essays on speculative history: the result if things might've gone differently. The first book was purely military; the second delves into some non-military what if's.There are some real good essays and some real good authors in here, but some of the material is prett [...]

    Some great, some good. This is not "alternate" or "counterfactual" history. It is a collection of historical articles, mostly considering general descriptions of actual historical events and phenomena. The "What if" part is usually brief, and serves to highlight specific aspects of the history that the author considers to have been crucial to the way the history actually did unfold. No submachinguns are delivered to Confederates here.The best article was easily the last. William H. McNeill's Wha [...]

    This book was an easy winner for me. You take a group of very respected historians--who are also talented writers--and get them to write about what life might be like if--at some point in history--something had been changed.What if--Christ had not been crucified? If Lincoln had not freed the slaves? D-Day had failed? The Mongols had conquered Europe? And the title of the book is, "The Collected What If?" It includes the full contents of the earlier books, "What If?" and "What If?2".Many of the e [...]

    As I might have expected from an anthology, my enjoyment of the articles in this large anthology varied depending on the topic and even moreso the author. I enjoyed the articles by historians whose work I already knew and admired (Thomas Fleming, David McCullough, e.g) and a few others were also interesting and informative (What if Robert E. Lee's Lost Order hadn't been lost?) thought-provoking (What if Pontius Pilate spared Jesus?), or just fun to think about (What if Churchill had been killed [...]

    History is endlessly fascinating for me, and a big part of that is thinking about the 'What-if' possibilities. Enough other readers also enjoy thinking about these ideas to make alternate history a thriving branch of fiction. Of course, the complexity of the world, the cliched butterfly effect, makes it impossible to know what all the consequences of large or small events having happened differently (or not at all) would have been, but that's a good thing - it makes it a lot more interesting to [...]

    Reading the thoughts of actual historians on what might have been is extremely enjoyable. Of course they can't all be gems, but there are far more hits than misses in this excellent collection. We often think historic events had to turn out as they did, but this book shows how often a minor action could have completely changed a significant outcome. It also reminds us that many times winning one additional battle would not have changed the course of an entire war. The degree to which the authors [...]

    Overall, I enjoyed this. However, if you're looking for bold alternate history theories put forth by historians, keep moving on. Not all of the chapters go on to speculate about what would have happened if one or more historical events had changed; many (especially in book 1*) focus on a key point in history and WHY it was important. When the writers do speculate, their projections tend to be either very conservative or rather optimistic. That being said, there is a lot of interesting historical [...]

    Some of the history recaps can be a bit slow and read like textbook excerpts. This is particularly true of the explanations of individual battles, as the first volume contemplates the possible results of historic military operations turning out differently. However, the extra background information is absolutely worth it. The alternative worlds imagined by the authors who contributed to this book are fascinating but in many situations horrifying.

    Some excellent short essays which will be a pleasure to anyone who enjoys history. The book rarely lives up to its promise however: the vast majority of the essays simply detail crucial (sometimes unexpected) turning points in history, but very few actually extrapolate in any but passing detail the consequences had things gone differently. Also, too many of the articles are devoted solely to military history, which is a fascinating topic in itself but in a volume this thick I'd have hopes for mo [...]

    While it is true that this collection is more of an exploration of possible turning points than it is true alternative history, it was a very good read. I was impressed with the ability of historians to speculate more freely than they typically do in their academic work. Who knew the potato was so important to world history, or that the Chinese easily could have discovered and colonized North and South America? Realizing the often small factors on which large processes turn gave me a renewed app [...]

    This was a very interesting book. I thought it a great way to learn a good deal of history on many different subjects. More and more I'm discovering that history is very intriguing to me, and maybe that's part of why I liked it. It is very long, so I would recommend reading subsets of the book at a time, and not all of the chapters were equally compelling, but the majority of them were engaging and informative.

    Interesting collection of essays on the counterfactual-- I find it fascinating to learn how great historical events can sometimes hinge on small accidents/split-second decisions. Historians like Stephen E. Ambrose, Caleb Carr and others, offer up plausible alternatives to historical events we all learned about in school.

    It's lovely to indulge in 'what if' thoughts or historical fantasies, but fleshing out some of those alternate 'turning point' histories with the insight provided by experienced historians was a total treat for me (I especially enjoyed the Romans vs. Germanics chapter, and the extraordinary possibilities that might have come out of a Roman invasion and lasting occupation of northern Europe).

    This book presents an interesting premise: a collection of essays about what the world might be like if various turning points in history had gone differently. This first volume presented mostly military scenarios, which made it tough going at some points, but I have high hopes for the sequel, which focuses on non-military scenarios.

    A collection of historical counterfactuals which I found quite interesting but felt they spent more time of what really happened than on what could have happened.Slightly disappointed in that reagard and felt they spent too much time on the World Wars and not enough on other subjects I would have like to have seen covered.Recommended to any history buffs out there.

    Quite boring. I had the wrong impression of what it was going to be like. It talked about how and where things could have been different during the conflicts given. I was wanting more of the what the after affects would be like years, decades, centuries down the line.

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