What If? 2: Eminent Historians Imagine What Might Have Been

What If? 2: Eminent Historians Imagine What Might Have


10 thoughts on “What If? 2: Eminent Historians Imagine What Might Have Been

  1. Isidore Isidore says:

    Some of these eminent historians are nothing of the kind several aren t even historians, but novelists or journalists The essays dealing with the modern era roughly half the book tend to be Cold Warriorish and or fanatically deterministic No matter what any historical figure might have done, things come outor less the same as they did in real life This not only undermines the purpose of the book, it suggests rigidity of the imagination and a belief that the individual has no power Some of these eminent historians are nothing of the kind several aren t even historians, but novelists or journalists The essays dealing with the modern era roughly half the book tend to be Cold Warriorish and or fanatically deterministic No matter what any historical figure might have done, things come outor less the same as they did in real life This not only undermines the purpose of the book, it suggests rigidity of the imagination and a belief that the individual has no power to shape the course of events, so we d might as well all stay home and let the authorities do as they please.The essays dealing with earlier events are somewhat better I enjoyed the piece in which the French don t go to war in 1870, while recognizing its fancifulness The same goes for an equally pleasant but extravagant fantasy in which Mark Antony defeats Octavian and a hypothetical Cleopatra IX goes on to become pope More sensible, and fairly stimulating, are essays in which Luther is executed before the Reformation gets fully underway, and there is war instead of a Munich agreement in 1938 But the writer who argues that the Nazis would have collapsed like a house of cards had Pius XII spoken sternly to them is perhaps a little too imaginative


  2. Steve Kohn Steve Kohn says:

    I recently read and liked What If, about military battles that could have gone otherwise and the consequences to world history that would have probably occurred.The followup book, What If 2, is about world, not military, events that could have gone otherwise Too many of the scenarios some of which are military, in fact could have been better chosen, in my opinion, but a few are fascinating and make this book worth looking for in the library.1 What if Pontius Pilate had spared Jesus.2 Wh I recently read and liked What If, about military battles that could have gone otherwise and the consequences to world history that would have probably occurred.The followup book, What If 2, is about world, not military, events that could have gone otherwise Too many of the scenarios some of which are military, in fact could have been better chosen, in my opinion, but a few are fascinating and make this book worth looking for in the library.1 What if Pontius Pilate had spared Jesus.2 What if the Chinese Emperor had not stopped the expeditions of his eunuch admiral in the 15th Century.3 What if Germany hadn t helped Lenin reach St Petersburg in 1917.4 What if Pope Pius XII had protested the Holocaust.5 What if the atomic bombs had not been dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.Number five forever lays to rest, in my mind anyway, any doubt on the use of atomic weapons in Japan Not diminishing the lives that were lost in those two cities, but the evidence seems clear that manyJapanese lives would have been lost if we hadn t used the bombs That Japan, in fact, would have been invaded by Russia, still smarting over the Russo Japanese War of 1904 1905.I look forward to What If 3


  3. Christopher Bashforth Christopher Bashforth says:

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here Overall a reasonable and interesting read One major problem with the book is that the contributors often chicken out when discussing their particular alternative historical scenario They will provide all the background concerning the scenario but there will just be a couple of paragraphs on what could have happened differently There are however, a couple of authors who are brave and give almost their whole piece to the alternative happenings for example what if Jesus hadn t been crucified Overall a reasonable and interesting read One major problem with the book is that the contributors often chicken out when discussing their particular alternative historical scenario They will provide all the background concerning the scenario but there will just be a couple of paragraphs on what could have happened differently There are however, a couple of authors who are brave and give almost their whole piece to the alternative happenings for example what if Jesus hadn t been crucified Christianity still results but in a different form closer to Judaism and if Anthony and Cleopatra had won the war against Augustus a bipolar Mediterranean a powerful Egypt instead of just Rome Definitely better than the first volume less military focused


  4. Ohr Ohr says:

    I received the first What If volume along with Virtual History as a gift in high school, a well intentioned gift as the gift giver knew I liked to study and read history I didn t particularly care for them, but upon receiving them and upon completing them I thanked the gift giver for their generous and thoughtful gifts When asked if I enjoyed them, to spare their feelings I said that I did.Receiving this book as a gift a few years later, I feel, is a strong argument against the telling of whi I received the first What If volume along with Virtual History as a gift in high school, a well intentioned gift as the gift giver knew I liked to study and read history I didn t particularly care for them, but upon receiving them and upon completing them I thanked the gift giver for their generous and thoughtful gifts When asked if I enjoyed them, to spare their feelings I said that I did.Receiving this book as a gift a few years later, I feel, is a strong argument against the telling of white lies


  5. Trevar Trevar says:

    A good history read, but every essayist has their own styles which means they do not particularly mesh well together Some are really interesting, some start out interesting and then lose momentum others are uninteresting from the start But the book still has a subject matter worth paying attention to, with hypothetical ideas of what might have happened if things were different, and that at least provides a solid platform to pay attention to.


  6. Linda ODwyer Linda ODwyer says:

    I m a sucker for alternate ending scenerios This is a great source from a military strategist who ponders the idea of what if something happened differently during major military engagements and how the alternate outcome might affect today Fascinating


  7. Clay Davis Clay Davis says:

    A great collection of some of the best historians and their take on past events and people.


  8. Tom Baikin-O& Tom Baikin-O& says:

    Another proof that historians are not writers the questions are interesting but the conservative outcome of the answers is disappointing, to say the least.


  9. Marcus Marcus says:

    If I am to be perfectly honest, this collection didn t really meet my expectations, neither in regard of selection of topics nor depth of analysis Vast majority of the tweaks discussed in this book are, in my opinion at least, too vast in scope for anyone to even be able to speculate about their effects The first essay in this book is a perfect example if Jesus of Nazareth managed to live to an old age, is it even possible to provide a credible speculation about how it would affect what to If I am to be perfectly honest, this collection didn t really meet my expectations, neither in regard of selection of topics nor depth of analysis Vast majority of the tweaks discussed in this book are, in my opinion at least, too vast in scope for anyone to even be able to speculate about their effects The first essay in this book is a perfect example if Jesus of Nazareth managed to live to an old age, is it even possible to provide a credible speculation about how it would affect what today is one of major religions of the world Other essays in this collection gave me a distinct impression of not being counterfactual history at all, but rather arguments for or criticisms of actual historical decisions the essay arguing against Eisenhower s broad approach strategy in late 1944 and one arguing for use of atomic weapons against Japan in 1945 are probably best examples of this type of essays in this book And finally there was a couple of essays about topics which I personally question deserve to be analyzed from counter factual perspective For example, battle of Hastings was regardless of what the author claims a local event and I fail to see how Harold Godwinson s victory would have affected the big picture And while I found the essay about effect of introduction of potatoes to European society to be one of the most interesting in this collection, it was because it mostly discussed those effects who would have thought history of potato was so fascinating But the premise of that particular essay that Pizarro failed to find potatoes to be begin with how was that supposed to happen It was the major crop of the area after all In my opinion, counterfactual history discussions are historian s equivalent of kids arguing who would win in a fight between Superman and Batman They are universally pointless They have serious potential to ruffle some feathers But if the point of contention is selected wisely and argued cleverly, they can also be a lot of fun Essays in this collection completely validated my first point, confirmed to certain degree the second one, but failed to entertain me in the way that I expect from this type of book


  10. Gavin Gavin says:

    Little counterfactuals involving single decisions in single lives that would probably have had vast effects on the present world Needed this book because, at my school, the big historical cliches Hastings were divorced from their effects Had Socrates died before meeting Plato, two thousand years of persuasive anti democratic thought might have been prevented had Zheng He just kept going, a Confucian America without a divine mandate to convert and subjugate, and an overwhelmed, boxed in Little counterfactuals involving single decisions in single lives that would probably have had vast effects on the present world Needed this book because, at my school, the big historical cliches Hastings were divorced from their effects Had Socrates died before meeting Plato, two thousand years of persuasive anti democratic thought might have been prevented had Zheng He just kept going, a Confucian America without a divine mandate to convert and subjugate, and an overwhelmed, boxed in and thus united pre colonial Europe might have resulted It may be coincidental, but it is suggestive nonetheless that the interest among serious historians in counterfactual analysis basically corresponds with the rise of a dramatically new way of looking at the physics of complex systems, known popularly as chaos theory. They are also just great stories, cf Adam Gopnik s It is the aim of all academic historians in our time to drain as much drama from history as is consistent with the facts and it is the goal of popular historians to add as much drama to history as is consistent with the facts, or can be made to seem so. This is the former people doing the latter work Damn good fun, and maybe valuable in the absence of proper modelling


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What If? 2: Eminent Historians Imagine What Might Have Been ❰PDF❯ ❤ What If? 2: Eminent Historians Imagine What Might Have Been Author Robert Cowley – Polishdarling.co.uk What if Lincoln didn t abolish slavery What if an assassin succeeded in killing FDR in This volume presents intriguing what if scenarios by some of today s greatest historical minds A second volume 2: Eminent Epub Û What if Lincoln didn t abolish slavery What if an assassin succeeded in killing FDR inThis volume presentsintriguing what if scenarios by some of today s greatest historical minds A second volume of historical speculation by experts in the field wonders what if Socrates had died on the battlefield at Delium or What If? PDF/EPUB ² Eisenhower had finished off the Nazis in , among other intriguing scenariosContents Socrates dies at Delium,BC Victor Davis Hanson Not by a nose the triumph of Antony and Cleopatra at Actium,BC Josiah Ober Pontius Pilate spares Jesus Carlos MN Eire Repulse at Hastings, October ,Cecelia Holland The Chinese discovery of the New World, If? 2: Eminent PDF/EPUB ã th century Theodore F Cook, Jr Martin Luther burns at the stake,Geoffrey Parker If Charles I had not left Whitehall, AugustTheodore K Rabb Napoleon s invasion of North America Thomas Fleming If Lincoln had not freed the slaves Tom Wicker France turns the other cheek, JulyAlistair Horne The election of Theodore Roosevelt,John Lukacs The Great War torpedoed Robert L O Connell No Finland Station George Feifer The luck of Franklin Delano Roosevelt Geoffrey C Ward The War ofWilliamson Murray Prime Minister Halifax Great Britain makes peace with Germany,Andrew Roberts The boys who saved Australia,James Bradley Enigma uncracked David Kahn Pius XII protests the Holocaust Robert Katz VE Day November ,Caleb Carr The Fu hrer in the dock Roger Spiller No bomb no end the Operation Olympic disaster, JapanRichard B Frank The presidency of Henry Wallace James Chace A tale of three congressmen,America without Nixon, Johnson, and Kennedy Lance Morrow What if Pizarro had not found potatoes in Peru William H McNeill.

    Download Book Best Sellers in PDF format Delium or What If? PDF/EPUB ² Eisenhower had finished off the Nazis in , among other intriguing scenariosContents Socrates dies at Delium,BC Victor Davis Hanson Not by a nose the triumph of Antony and Cleopatra at Actium,BC Josiah Ober Pontius Pilate spares Jesus Carlos MN Eire Repulse at Hastings, October ,Cecelia Holland The Chinese discovery of the New World, If? 2: Eminent PDF/EPUB ã th century Theodore F Cook, Jr Martin Luther burns at the stake,Geoffrey Parker If Charles I had not left Whitehall, AugustTheodore K Rabb Napoleon s invasion of North America Thomas Fleming If Lincoln had not freed the slaves Tom Wicker France turns the other cheek, JulyAlistair Horne The election of Theodore Roosevelt,John Lukacs The Great War torpedoed Robert L O Connell No Finland Station George Feifer The luck of Franklin Delano Roosevelt Geoffrey C Ward The War ofWilliamson Murray Prime Minister Halifax Great Britain makes peace with Germany,Andrew Roberts The boys who saved Australia,James Bradley Enigma uncracked David Kahn Pius XII protests the Holocaust Robert Katz VE Day November ,Caleb Carr The Fu hrer in the dock Roger Spiller No bomb no end the Operation Olympic disaster, JapanRichard B Frank The presidency of Henry Wallace James Chace A tale of three congressmen,America without Nixon, Johnson, and Kennedy Lance Morrow What if Pizarro had not found potatoes in Peru William H McNeill."/>
  • Paperback
  • 427 pages
  • What If? 2: Eminent Historians Imagine What Might Have Been
  • Robert Cowley
  • English
  • 09 September 2017
  • 042518613X

About the Author: Robert Cowley

2: Eminent Epub Û Robert Cowley is an American military historian, who writes on topics in American and European military history ranging from the Civil War through World War II He has held several senior positions in book and magazine publishing and is the founding editor of the award winning MHQ The Quarterly Journal of Military What If? PDF/EPUB ² History Cowley has also written extensively and edited three collections of essays in counterfactual history known as What If As part of his research he has traveled the entire length of the Western Front, from the North Sea to the Swiss BorderHe currently lives in New York and Connecticut Wikipedia.



10 thoughts on “What If? 2: Eminent Historians Imagine What Might Have Been

  1. Isidore Isidore says:

    Some of these eminent historians are nothing of the kind several aren t even historians, but novelists or journalists The essays dealing with the modern era roughly half the book tend to be Cold Warriorish and or fanatically deterministic No matter what any historical figure might have done, things come outor less the same as they did in real life This not only undermines the purpose of the book, it suggests rigidity of the imagination and a belief that the individual has no power Some of these eminent historians are nothing of the kind several aren t even historians, but novelists or journalists The essays dealing with the modern era roughly half the book tend to be Cold Warriorish and or fanatically deterministic No matter what any historical figure might have done, things come outor less the same as they did in real life This not only undermines the purpose of the book, it suggests rigidity of the imagination and a belief that the individual has no power to shape the course of events, so we d might as well all stay home and let the authorities do as they please.The essays dealing with earlier events are somewhat better I enjoyed the piece in which the French don t go to war in 1870, while recognizing its fancifulness The same goes for an equally pleasant but extravagant fantasy in which Mark Antony defeats Octavian and a hypothetical Cleopatra IX goes on to become pope More sensible, and fairly stimulating, are essays in which Luther is executed before the Reformation gets fully underway, and there is war instead of a Munich agreement in 1938 But the writer who argues that the Nazis would have collapsed like a house of cards had Pius XII spoken sternly to them is perhaps a little too imaginative


  2. Steve Kohn Steve Kohn says:

    I recently read and liked What If, about military battles that could have gone otherwise and the consequences to world history that would have probably occurred.The followup book, What If 2, is about world, not military, events that could have gone otherwise Too many of the scenarios some of which are military, in fact could have been better chosen, in my opinion, but a few are fascinating and make this book worth looking for in the library.1 What if Pontius Pilate had spared Jesus.2 Wh I recently read and liked What If, about military battles that could have gone otherwise and the consequences to world history that would have probably occurred.The followup book, What If 2, is about world, not military, events that could have gone otherwise Too many of the scenarios some of which are military, in fact could have been better chosen, in my opinion, but a few are fascinating and make this book worth looking for in the library.1 What if Pontius Pilate had spared Jesus.2 What if the Chinese Emperor had not stopped the expeditions of his eunuch admiral in the 15th Century.3 What if Germany hadn t helped Lenin reach St Petersburg in 1917.4 What if Pope Pius XII had protested the Holocaust.5 What if the atomic bombs had not been dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.Number five forever lays to rest, in my mind anyway, any doubt on the use of atomic weapons in Japan Not diminishing the lives that were lost in those two cities, but the evidence seems clear that manyJapanese lives would have been lost if we hadn t used the bombs That Japan, in fact, would have been invaded by Russia, still smarting over the Russo Japanese War of 1904 1905.I look forward to What If 3


  3. Christopher Bashforth Christopher Bashforth says:

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here Overall a reasonable and interesting read One major problem with the book is that the contributors often chicken out when discussing their particular alternative historical scenario They will provide all the background concerning the scenario but there will just be a couple of paragraphs on what could have happened differently There are however, a couple of authors who are brave and give almost their whole piece to the alternative happenings for example what if Jesus hadn t been crucified Overall a reasonable and interesting read One major problem with the book is that the contributors often chicken out when discussing their particular alternative historical scenario They will provide all the background concerning the scenario but there will just be a couple of paragraphs on what could have happened differently There are however, a couple of authors who are brave and give almost their whole piece to the alternative happenings for example what if Jesus hadn t been crucified Christianity still results but in a different form closer to Judaism and if Anthony and Cleopatra had won the war against Augustus a bipolar Mediterranean a powerful Egypt instead of just Rome Definitely better than the first volume less military focused


  4. Ohr Ohr says:

    I received the first What If volume along with Virtual History as a gift in high school, a well intentioned gift as the gift giver knew I liked to study and read history I didn t particularly care for them, but upon receiving them and upon completing them I thanked the gift giver for their generous and thoughtful gifts When asked if I enjoyed them, to spare their feelings I said that I did.Receiving this book as a gift a few years later, I feel, is a strong argument against the telling of whi I received the first What If volume along with Virtual History as a gift in high school, a well intentioned gift as the gift giver knew I liked to study and read history I didn t particularly care for them, but upon receiving them and upon completing them I thanked the gift giver for their generous and thoughtful gifts When asked if I enjoyed them, to spare their feelings I said that I did.Receiving this book as a gift a few years later, I feel, is a strong argument against the telling of white lies


  5. Trevar Trevar says:

    A good history read, but every essayist has their own styles which means they do not particularly mesh well together Some are really interesting, some start out interesting and then lose momentum others are uninteresting from the start But the book still has a subject matter worth paying attention to, with hypothetical ideas of what might have happened if things were different, and that at least provides a solid platform to pay attention to.


  6. Linda ODwyer Linda ODwyer says:

    I m a sucker for alternate ending scenerios This is a great source from a military strategist who ponders the idea of what if something happened differently during major military engagements and how the alternate outcome might affect today Fascinating


  7. Clay Davis Clay Davis says:

    A great collection of some of the best historians and their take on past events and people.


  8. Tom Baikin-O& Tom Baikin-O& says:

    Another proof that historians are not writers the questions are interesting but the conservative outcome of the answers is disappointing, to say the least.


  9. Marcus Marcus says:

    If I am to be perfectly honest, this collection didn t really meet my expectations, neither in regard of selection of topics nor depth of analysis Vast majority of the tweaks discussed in this book are, in my opinion at least, too vast in scope for anyone to even be able to speculate about their effects The first essay in this book is a perfect example if Jesus of Nazareth managed to live to an old age, is it even possible to provide a credible speculation about how it would affect what to If I am to be perfectly honest, this collection didn t really meet my expectations, neither in regard of selection of topics nor depth of analysis Vast majority of the tweaks discussed in this book are, in my opinion at least, too vast in scope for anyone to even be able to speculate about their effects The first essay in this book is a perfect example if Jesus of Nazareth managed to live to an old age, is it even possible to provide a credible speculation about how it would affect what today is one of major religions of the world Other essays in this collection gave me a distinct impression of not being counterfactual history at all, but rather arguments for or criticisms of actual historical decisions the essay arguing against Eisenhower s broad approach strategy in late 1944 and one arguing for use of atomic weapons against Japan in 1945 are probably best examples of this type of essays in this book And finally there was a couple of essays about topics which I personally question deserve to be analyzed from counter factual perspective For example, battle of Hastings was regardless of what the author claims a local event and I fail to see how Harold Godwinson s victory would have affected the big picture And while I found the essay about effect of introduction of potatoes to European society to be one of the most interesting in this collection, it was because it mostly discussed those effects who would have thought history of potato was so fascinating But the premise of that particular essay that Pizarro failed to find potatoes to be begin with how was that supposed to happen It was the major crop of the area after all In my opinion, counterfactual history discussions are historian s equivalent of kids arguing who would win in a fight between Superman and Batman They are universally pointless They have serious potential to ruffle some feathers But if the point of contention is selected wisely and argued cleverly, they can also be a lot of fun Essays in this collection completely validated my first point, confirmed to certain degree the second one, but failed to entertain me in the way that I expect from this type of book


  10. Gavin Gavin says:

    Little counterfactuals involving single decisions in single lives that would probably have had vast effects on the present world Needed this book because, at my school, the big historical cliches Hastings were divorced from their effects Had Socrates died before meeting Plato, two thousand years of persuasive anti democratic thought might have been prevented had Zheng He just kept going, a Confucian America without a divine mandate to convert and subjugate, and an overwhelmed, boxed in Little counterfactuals involving single decisions in single lives that would probably have had vast effects on the present world Needed this book because, at my school, the big historical cliches Hastings were divorced from their effects Had Socrates died before meeting Plato, two thousand years of persuasive anti democratic thought might have been prevented had Zheng He just kept going, a Confucian America without a divine mandate to convert and subjugate, and an overwhelmed, boxed in and thus united pre colonial Europe might have resulted It may be coincidental, but it is suggestive nonetheless that the interest among serious historians in counterfactual analysis basically corresponds with the rise of a dramatically new way of looking at the physics of complex systems, known popularly as chaos theory. They are also just great stories, cf Adam Gopnik s It is the aim of all academic historians in our time to drain as much drama from history as is consistent with the facts and it is the goal of popular historians to add as much drama to history as is consistent with the facts, or can be made to seem so. This is the former people doing the latter work Damn good fun, and maybe valuable in the absence of proper modelling


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