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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing snippets of alternative history, 29 Mar 2011
This review is from: Napoleon's Haemorrhoids: ... and other small events that changed history (Paperback)
Although lumbered with a naff title, an undeniably entertaining skip through some of the "small events that changed history".

Alternate history shows us just how provisional and random some of the mainstays of our culture really are. In this parallel universe Alaska is still owned by Russia, the US became a monarchy (twice), Napoleon woke up "feeling much better" on Sunday 18 June 1815 and narrowly won the Battle of Waterloo, Archduke Franz Ferdinand escaped assassination in 1914 but Russian firebrand Lenin was gunned down four years later. In New York 1931 the promising English politician Winston Churchill was hit by a car and killed but his never-to-be nemesis Adolf Hitler (real name: Schicklgruber) had already committed suicide in 1923 following a chaotically failed putsch.

Fascinating and thought-provoking but the scrapbook style of the book is just too haphazard. Which events were really critical i.e. would have really changed history and which would have happened anyway? If Archduke Franz Ferdinand's car hadn't taken a wrong turn in Sarajevo would the First World War really not have started? And if Napoleon's unfortunate ailment hadn't put him off his game on that Belgian battlefield on that particular day would Europe really look much different now?
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