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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic fun
well, i just think this is a superbly interesting book, perfect for dipping in to and re-visiting. If more people were to read this sort of book on trains etc. it would represent a considerable intellectual advance over puzzles and glossly magazines. its NOT a university text book, and to criticise it from that point of view is to mis-understand the aim of the...
Published on 9 July 2006 by manbearpig

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining
As a history student myself and with an interest in alternative histories and what might have been, I found this book to be very entertaining. The book covers scenarios such as Thirteen ways the Americans could have lots the revolution, a Roman Victory over the Germanic tribes in the Teutoburg Forest, a victorious Spanish armada, a failed D-Day, and the cold war turning...
Published on 16 Feb 2005 by T. Lynch


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, 16 Feb 2005
By 
T. Lynch (Newcastle Upon Tyne, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: What If?: Military Historians Imagine What Might Have Been (Paperback)
As a history student myself and with an interest in alternative histories and what might have been, I found this book to be very entertaining. The book covers scenarios such as Thirteen ways the Americans could have lots the revolution, a Roman Victory over the Germanic tribes in the Teutoburg Forest, a victorious Spanish armada, a failed D-Day, and the cold war turning hot at the Berlin Wall in 1961 to name but a few. In each scenario events are pin pointed in which history could have diverted off into an alternative path. It is thoroughly entertaining to read, although I couldn't help but feel slightly disappointed that the alternatives weren't explored in a bit more detail. Nevertheless, the book is an interesting and entertaining read to anyone with an interest in history.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What if the book had more detailed follow-up?, 8 Dec 2002
By 
U. Schwela "iperboreano" (Thornton, Lancs., England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: What If?: Military Historians Imagine What Might Have Been (Paperback)
As a book, this was certainly hard to put down and was a quick read, the various scenarios it presents are very interesting, although the great emphasis on 1770's America should perhaps be highlighted on the book's cover. There was one greater frustration though, each scenario is built up vividly but there is a lack of detail as to WHAT the consequences of an alternate history might have been. You end up finishing the book feeling you have been on a roller-coaster ride where none of the drops lived up to the expectation built up in the climb. A good introduction to alternate history, but no more.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic fun, 9 July 2006
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This review is from: What If?: Military Historians Imagine What Might Have Been (Paperback)
well, i just think this is a superbly interesting book, perfect for dipping in to and re-visiting. If more people were to read this sort of book on trains etc. it would represent a considerable intellectual advance over puzzles and glossly magazines. its NOT a university text book, and to criticise it from that point of view is to mis-understand the aim of the book.

Also, to complain that the consequences of various alternatives are not fully fleshed out is a dire mistake. The book allows a lot of room for the reader to fill in the blanks- for instance, the wonderfully written little segment on the mongols and the death of Ogadai that saved Europe perfectly explains how our continent could have been culturally decimated without trying to piant that particular picture in full.

Another interesting element to that particular story is the destruction of the Caliph of Baghdad by the Mongols. The supreme head of Islam was put in a sack and "trampled to paste" by wild horses. the caliphate has never been restored...how would christians have coped had the pope suffered the same fate?

anyway, questions like that are left to your imagination, which is a pleasant and pleasing thing to get from a book.

the last few chapters are slightly below power, and the over-emphasis on america is slightly grating. But the book clearly believes that the various cultural traits of people can be traced back to historical events- for instance, Russian xenophobia comes from the attacks of the Mongols centuries ago, whilst German aggression is put down to that nation never having experienced Roman rule etc etc. its a highly debatable thought, but to go with it a minute only a young, historically naive nation like America would have the temerity to revise history and re-present it in such an interesting fashion.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A challenge for history thinkers, 18 Jan 2001
By A Customer
In many decisive occasions of human history things could really turn out differently and we would live in a very, very different world now (Even, the world history itself; what if the meteor that finally killed all dinosours missed the earth). The book comprises many interesting cases from 700 BC up to present time. One starts to believe that everything was chance (or bad luck). Still, I feel the book could even be better. American originated cases (from Revolution to Midway) make up an unproportinally large part of the book. Instead there could be given more examples from others parts of the world, especially from Europe and Asia. There are lots of moments that should have taken place in this book, at least as an anecdote. Anyway, it is a brilliant work and I recommend it to all history thinkers.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great concept, disappointing end product., 17 Oct 2002
This review is from: What If?: Military Historians Imagine What Might Have Been (Paperback)
I would have loved this book if it had actually done what it originally set out to do - which is to write alternate histories for various pivotal events in the past.
Unfortunately, more time and space is spent explaining what really DID happen, rather than what MIGHT have happened. It leads to (rather simplified example) passages such as "British soldier xxx had a gun trained on George Washington (...add long explanation of events). He didn't shoot him, but if he had then Britain might have won the revolutionary war."
There is a distinct lack of in-depth speculation, more a case of "x event might not have happened, in which case history would have been different."
A bit frustrating.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The title says it all., 2 Oct 1999
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I just love books like this - having tried to write alternate history stories myself, I know how difficult it is - miss one tiny detail and the whole premise can fall apart. So books like "What If..." written by people who know a little bit more about their chosen subjects than myself (ie: proper Historians) are indispensable for anyone who wants to consider how different the world would be if, for example, the US hadn't fluked a win at the Battle of Midway or even if the UK and US hadn't entered the First World War. Would it have even BEEN a "World" War? Probably not as it happens. Food for thought.
I also recommend "The Hinge Factor" by Erik Durschmied and "The Hitler Options" and "Invasion" edited and written by Kenneth Macksey respectively, the latter being an in-depth look at the alternate history of the German Invasion of England in July 1940.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking, frightening - sequel needed!, 30 Jun 2000
By A Customer
This book of "counter factual" history essays provides a thought-provoking, sometimes frightening look at what might have been, particularly those essays concerning the "Premature Death of Alexander the Great" and "How Hitler Could Have Won The War". However, a sequel is needed to address other "what-ifs" e.g. What if Hitler had not carried on his anti-Jewish policies, and had instead employed Jewish financiers, generals and scientists in the Third Reich? What if Argentina had won the Falklands War? What if Saddam Hussein's forces had advanced into Saudi Arabia in 1990? However, this book remains a worthy effort, and I highly recommend it.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 10 April 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: What If?: Military Historians Imagine What Might Have Been (Paperback)
What if? What if the authors had spent more time in developing alternative scenarios rather than in presenting the historical background? The idea behind the book is great, but the final product is below average. It is stimulating for the imagination only in the sense that you can imagine how much better you could have written alternative history scenarios!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable History, 5 July 2010
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This review is from: What If?: Military Historians Imagine What Might Have Been (Paperback)
An enjoyable romp through History, and an exploration of "might have been", if for example the British soldier had shot George Washington when he had him in his sights.
If you have any interest at all in history then you will love this, I agree with some of the reviewers when they have commented that some of the aspects of the "alternative" history were not explored as much as they could have been, but how far do you go!
A great fast read for any history nut.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What if American historians didn't have a skewed perspective?, 15 Oct 2009
By 
A. Warmington (Hampton, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: What If?: Military Historians Imagine What Might Have Been (Paperback)
'What If?' is a series of speculations on how world history might have taken a different turn but for certain tight contingencies, usually in battle. Some of them are mind-boggling in their scope, particularly the ancient ones. It's a legitimiate question when you consider how nearly Alexander the Great came to being killed at the Granicus (and over and over again afterwards, that he died at 33 is hardly surprising) and the odds against his insane enterprise's success were huge.

The big downside for me goes with the territory of American historicism: verbosity, pomposity and sometimes staggering ignorance. England and Britain are not the same thing, guys. Seriously... To be fair, that one may be the editor's fault, as the two terms are used interchangeably in every chapter featuring Britain, but it is a silly mistake.

When you get to the modern age, the 'What ifs' are increasingly pointless and that is the book's downfall. The American Civil War might have taken longer or followed many different courses, but there was never the shadow of a doubt that the north would win. In World War II, the US naval success against the odds at Midway drastically changed the course of the war, but again there was never a shadow of a doubt about the outcome. Why not what if China had developed an interest in the outside world at any time, ever? What if Christ or Mohammed had not lived at the times they did? There must be scope for more!
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What If?: Military Historians Imagine What Might Have Been
What If?: Military Historians Imagine What Might Have Been by Robert Cowley (Paperback - 6 April 2001)
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