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Alternate History Books   >   Books   >   What If?


What If?: The World's Foremost Military Historians Imagine What Might Have Been

    Anthology of counterfactual scenarios.

Related Books:

This is one of two books in a series edited by Robert Cowley. The other book in the series is:
Review of What If?: The World's Foremost Military Historians Imagine What Might Have Been:

This book is an anthology of fairly serious-minded counterfactual scenarios for various pivotal events in history, especially focusing military scenarios.

The scenarios in the book are generally well-written and interesting, and cover a broad range of The book doesn't focus on any particular historical eras, which for some people will be a positive, but for others will be seen as a negative. There a few less discussed (but no less important) alternative history scenarios discussed in the book, and it is nice for a change to see lots of counterfactual relating to the ancient world and the Middle Ages (which are periods relatively thinly discussed in serious alternate histories).

In between many of the main chapters, are some some short mini-scenarios of one or two pages, which are discussed in less depth, but are nonetheless very interesting (I found myself wishing that some of these had been longer!). Some of the mini-chapters follow directly on from the previous main chapter, whereas others are more-or-less independent scenarios.

Here is a list of the scenarios in the book. I have included the subtitles as well, which in most cases should give you a fair idea about what each scenario is about - and have also indicated which are short mini-chapters, and where necessary have added some explanations of what the scenario is about:
  1. Infectious Alternatives - The Plague That Saved Jerusalem, 701 B.C - by William H. McNeill

  2. A Good Night's Sleep Can Do Wonders - by Barbara N. Porter - Mini-Chapter about King Gyges of Lydia's battle with the Cimmerians

  3. No Glory That Was Greece = The Persians Win at Salamis, 480 B.C. - by Victor Davis Hanson

  4. Conquest Denied - The Premature Death of Alexander the Great - by Josiah Ober

  5. Furor Teutonicus: The Teutoburg Forest, A.D. 9 - by Lewis H. Laphamm

  6. The Dark Ages Made Lighter - The Consequences of Two Defeats - by Barry S. Strauss - Alternative Outcomes to the Battles of Adrianople (378 A.D.) and Poiters (732 A.D.)

  7. The Death That Saved Europe - The Mongols Turn Back, 1242 - by Cecelia Holland

  8. If Only It Had Not Been Such a Wet Summer - The Critical Decade of the 1520s - by Theodore K. Rabb What if the Ottomans had defeated the Habsburgs and taken Vienna

  9. If The Holy League Hadn't Dithered - by Peter Pierson - Mini-Chapter about the consequences of a Habsburg defeat in the 1520s for the establishment of Protestantism

  10. The Immolation of Hernán Cortes - Tenochtitlán, June 30, 1521 - by Ross Hassig

  11. The Repulse of the English Fireships - The Spanish Aramada Triumphs, August 8, 1588 - by Geoffrey Parker

  12. Unlikely Victory - Thirteen Ways the Americans Could Have Lost the Revolution - by Thomas Fleming

  13. George Washington's Gamble - by Ira D. Gruber - Mini-Chapter about an early defeat of the American Revolution

  14. What the Fog Wrought - The Revolution's Dunkirk, August 29, 1776 - by David McCullough - George Washington's Unlikely Escape from Brooklyn Heights

  15. Ruler of the World - Napoleon's Missed Opportunities - Alaistair Horne

  16. Napoleon Wins at Waterloo - by Caleb Carr - Mini-Chapter

  17. If the Lost Order Hadn't Been Lost - Robert E. Lee Humbles the Union, 1862 - by James M. McPherson

  18. A Confederate Cannae and Other Scenarios - How the Civil War Might Have Turned Out Differently - by Stephen W. Sears

  19. The What Ifs of 1914 - The World War That Should Never Have Been - by Robert Cowley

  20. Bismarck's Empire Stillborn - by James Chace - Mini-Chapter about what if the French had won the Franco-Prussian War of 1870

  21. Thanks, But No Cigar - by David Clay Large - Mini-Chapter about what if Annie Oakley shot the Kaiser in a stunt in 1889

  22. The Armistice of Desperation - by Dennis E. Showalter - Mini-Chapter about what if the Western Front battles of 1914 had been fought even more aggressively

  23. How Hitler Could Have Won the War - The Drive for the Middle East, 1941 - by John Keegan

  24. What a Taxi Driver Wrought - by Williamsion Murray - Mini-Chapter about the consequences of Winston Churchill being killed by a New York taxi in 1931

  25. Triumph of the Dictators - by David Fromkin - Mini-Chapter about the USSR joining the Axis

  26. Our Midway Disaster - Japan Springs a Trap, June 4, 1942 - by Theodore F. Cook, Jr.

  27. The Case of the Missing CCarriers - by Elihu Rose - Mini-Chapter about what if the US Pacific Fleet's Aircraft Carriers had been at Pearl Harbor om December 7, 1941

  28. D Day Fails - Atomic Alternatives in Europe - by Stephen E. Ambrose

  29. The Soviet Invasion of Japan - by Robert Cowley - Mini-Chapter

  30. Funeral in Berlin - The Cold War Turns Hot - by David Clay Large - Various Cold War era scenarios involving Berlin

  31. China Without Tears - If Chiuang Kai-shek Hadn't Gambled in 1946 - Arthur Waldron - How the Chinese Nationalists could have survived in mainland China

  32. A Quagmire Avoided? - by Ted Morgan - Mini-Chapter about what if the US had intervened to help the French at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam, 1954

  33. The End - by Robert L. O'Connell - Mini-Chapter about what if nuclear war had accidentally broken out in 1983
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[What If? : Military Historians Imagine What Might Have Been] [By: Cowley, Robert] [March, 2001]

By Robert Cowley

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[What If? : Military Historians Imagine What Might Have Been] [By: Cowley, Robert] [March, 2001]
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[What If? : Military Historians Imagine What Might Have Been] [By: Cowley, Robert] [March, 2001]
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  • Author: Robert Cowley
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