September 17, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT

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

Current Status
In Season
Robert Cowley
We gave it an A

Since chance, error, and weather deserve as much credit as humans for the mess known as history, it’s fair to ask historians for a retake. What If? consists of 20 alternate endings to history’s major battles and turning points (what’s known in the trade as ”counterfactual” history). It’s great fun not only for military history buffs but also for people who like to begin sentences with ”If only” or ”Thank God.” Imagine the narrowly missed possibilities of a Muslim Europe, a Mongol Europe, a permanently Confederate South, a 20th century in which the names Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, and Mao mean nothing, or a triumphant Nazi Reich or Japanese Empire. You’ll have the vertigo-inducing sense that everything, you and me included, could have been very, very different. A

You May Like