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Was wäre gewesen, wenn? Wendepunkte der Weltgeschichte (1999)

von Robert Cowley (Herausgeber), Alistair Horne (Mitwirkender)

Weitere Autoren: Stephen E. Ambrose (Mitwirkender), Caleb Carr (Mitwirkender), James Chace (Mitwirkender), Theodore F. Cook, Jr. (Mitwirkender), Thomas J. Fleming (Mitwirkender)26 mehr, David Fromkin (Mitwirkender), Ira D. Gruber (Mitwirkender), Victor Davis Hanson (Mitwirkender), Ross Hassig (Mitwirkender), Cecelia Holland (Mitwirkender), Alistair Horne (Mitwirkender), John Keegan (Mitwirkender), Lewis H. Lapham (Mitwirkender), David Clay Large (Mitwirkender), David McCullough (Mitwirkender), William H. McNeill (Mitwirkender), James M. McPherson (Mitwirkender), Ted Morgan (Mitwirkender), Williamson Murray (Mitwirkender), Robert L. O'Connell (Mitwirkender), Josiah Ober (Mitwirkender), Geoffrey Parker (Mitwirkender), Peter Pierson (Mitwirkender), Barbara N. Porter (Mitwirkender), Theodore K. Rabb (Mitwirkender), Elihu Rose (Mitwirkender), Stephen W. Sears (Mitwirkender), Dennis E. Showalter (Mitwirkender), Barry S. Strauss (Mitwirkender), Arthur Waldron (Mitwirkender), Tom Wicker (Mitwirkender)

Weitere Autoren: Siehe Abschnitt Weitere Autoren.

Reihen: What if (1)

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1,574248,392 (3.51)9
Historians and inquisitive laymen alike love to ponder the dramatic what-ifs of history. In these never-before-published essays, some of the keenest minds of our time ask the big, tantalizing questions: Where might we be if history had not unfolded the way it did? Why, how, and when was our fortune made real? The answers are surprising, sometimes frightening, and always entertaining. This provocative collection of essays features today's foremost historians speculating on these "what ifs", providing a fascinating new perspective on history's most pivotal events. The essays include: Infectious Alternatives: The Plague that Saved Jerusalem by William H. McNeil; No Glory That Was Greece: The Persians Win at Salamis by Victor Davis Hanson; Conquest Denied: Alexander the Great's Premature Death by Josiah Ober; Furor Teutonicus: The Teutoburg by Lewis Lapham; The Dark Ages Made Lighter: The Consequences of Two Defeats by Barry S. Strauss; The Death that Saved Europe: The Mongols Turn Back by Cecilia Holland; If Only It Had Not Been Such a Wet Summer by Theodore K. Rabb; The Immolation of Hernn Corts by Ross Hassig.… (mehr)
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the old old stories are not that interesting because I know nothing about them.
it is interesting how luck is involved so much. ( )
  mahallett | Sep 4, 2020 |
Good short bursts of reading that give perspective ( )
  Brightman | May 8, 2019 |
A compelling collection of articles from some of our finest military historians, speculating on how the course of history might have changed had certain events turned out differently. Far from indulging in "idle parlour games" – which, as the introduction notes, was the phrase used by E. H. Carr to dismiss counterfactual history – What If? is intellectually rigorous and often chillingly plausible. Outcomes of some of the various speculations include: a world in which the Abrahamic religions of Christianity and Islam never emerged; a Europe ravaged by the Mongols, killing off all potential of an Enlightenment; a colonial USA still beholden to the British Empire; a separate Confederate States of America after Robert E. Lee's victory in the American Civil War; a Japanese invasion of Hawaii in World War Two after a crushing American defeat at Midway; and the atomic destruction of Berlin after a failed D-Day invasion.

As editor Robert Cowley suggests in his introduction, these are about more than just historians and anoraks indulging in their hobbies; What If? throws into sharp relief just how much of the historical course of events – which often seems so inevitable in retrospect – actually rests on a knife edge. Above all, we are reminded of the importance of the element of chance and luck: if Ogadai Khan had not died and the Mongol invasion of Europe had continued under his leadership; if the British officer who had George Washington in his gunsights had pulled the trigger; if the American dive-bombers at Midway had stumbled across the Japanese carriers just a few minutes too late. It is particularly remarkable to note just how close and how often the American War of Independence came to disaster (those jammy Yanks). To further underline this, a persistent theme in the articles comprising What If? is the fickleness of the weather: preventing Cornwallis from retreating at Yorktown; saving Washington at Brooklyn Heights; allowing a 36-hour window of storm-free weather for the D-Day landings to take place. As Cowley notes in one introduction: "Often, in military history, the dominoes fall where the wind blows them." (pg. 341).

I did have one of two minor qualms about the book – with a keen emphasis on 'minor'. There were a few more spelling mistakes than I would have expected; not a great deal but enough for me to remark on it. I found Cowley's habitual use of the word 'us' – meaning the Americans – in his introductions to the articles a bit irritating, and I found Thomas Fleming's article on the American Revolution a bit jingoistic at times. Speculating on a British victory, for example, he says: "Within a year or two at most, Americans would have been on their way to becoming replicas of the Canadians, tame, humble colonials in the triumphant British empire, without an iota of the independent spirit that has been the heart of the nation's identity." (pg. 166). I found this to be a little bit silly and a somewhat provincial view of American exceptionalism; in reality, the Canadians have as much a claim to be 'the land of the free' as their rebellious neighbours.

Overall, however, I thoroughly enjoyed the book; I don't indulge my passion for military history as much as I used to and What If? really got the juices flowing again. I picked it up expecting to only enjoy the later articles about modern history (which is more my area) but the ones that have stuck in my mind are the ones on ancient history. Here, there is more wiggle-room for speculations and tangents, for the sole reason that they took place so long ago, and consequently they allow us to imagine a world fundamentally different from the one we live in now. To give just one thought-provoking example: the close-fought naval battle at Salamis. Previously, Ancient Greek democracy had judged citizenship based on ownership of land. Victory at Salamis was won by landless oarsmen and sailors, leading to a more universal interpretation of citizenship (pg. 33). How different would our inheritance of Greek democracy have been if this battle had not been won? What would be our Western principles of governance, law and society? It is incredible to speculate on the world we might be living in if a certain storm hadn't subsided, a certain bullet hadn't missed, or a certain man hadn't been in the right place at the right time. What If? shows, to quote the Duke of Wellington, just how 'near-run a thing' a lot of crucial historical turning points have been. In this respect the book provides a valuable – and entertaining – service. It helps us understand the dynamics of history: its ebbs and flows, its twists and turns that make it such an enduringly fascinating subject. ( )
  MikeFutcher | Mar 28, 2017 |
Overall a very thought provoking book, and most entries were interesting. My favorites were various combatants making moves on Jerusalem, and the backstory on the consolidation of the Hebrew religion during the exile to Babylon. I also like the piece by Stephen Sears on the alternate outcomes of the early battles of the Civil War such as Bull Run and Chancellorsville.

The contrast of styles by the various contributors was very interesting. ( )
  delta351 | Mar 2, 2017 |
Spijtig dat er weer niet-historici een bijdrage leverden. Vooral het ontbreken van feiten stoort en niet alleen bij de niet-historici. De verklaringen van de historici zijn wel plausibel. Toch maken ook zij de dingen soms ongeloofwaardig door chauvinistisch te zijn. Het Engeland van Elisabeth was bvb. heel wat minder dan wat de schrijfster over het stuk met de Spaanse armada beweert. Tenslotte kan de vertaling van plaatsnamen beter. ( )
  Rodemail | Aug 17, 2015 |
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» Andere Autoren hinzufügen (7 möglich)

AutorennameRolleArt des AutorsWerk?Status
Cowley, RobertHerausgeberHauptautoralle Ausgabenbestätigt
Horne, AlistairMitwirkenderHauptautoralle Ausgabenbestätigt
Ambrose, Stephen E.MitwirkenderCo-Autoralle Ausgabenbestätigt
Carr, CalebMitwirkenderCo-Autoralle Ausgabenbestätigt
Chace, JamesMitwirkenderCo-Autoralle Ausgabenbestätigt
Cook, Theodore F., Jr.MitwirkenderCo-Autoralle Ausgabenbestätigt
Fleming, Thomas J.MitwirkenderCo-Autoralle Ausgabenbestätigt
Fromkin, DavidMitwirkenderCo-Autoralle Ausgabenbestätigt
Gruber, Ira D.MitwirkenderCo-Autoralle Ausgabenbestätigt
Hanson, Victor DavisMitwirkenderCo-Autoralle Ausgabenbestätigt
Hassig, RossMitwirkenderCo-Autoralle Ausgabenbestätigt
Holland, CeceliaMitwirkenderCo-Autoralle Ausgabenbestätigt
Horne, AlistairMitwirkenderCo-Autoralle Ausgabenbestätigt
Keegan, JohnMitwirkenderCo-Autoralle Ausgabenbestätigt
Lapham, Lewis H.MitwirkenderCo-Autoralle Ausgabenbestätigt
Large, David ClayMitwirkenderCo-Autoralle Ausgabenbestätigt
McCullough, DavidMitwirkenderCo-Autoralle Ausgabenbestätigt
McNeill, William H.MitwirkenderCo-Autoralle Ausgabenbestätigt
McPherson, James M.MitwirkenderCo-Autoralle Ausgabenbestätigt
Morgan, TedMitwirkenderCo-Autoralle Ausgabenbestätigt
Murray, WilliamsonMitwirkenderCo-Autoralle Ausgabenbestätigt
O'Connell, Robert L.MitwirkenderCo-Autoralle Ausgabenbestätigt
Ober, JosiahMitwirkenderCo-Autoralle Ausgabenbestätigt
Parker, GeoffreyMitwirkenderCo-Autoralle Ausgabenbestätigt
Pierson, PeterMitwirkenderCo-Autoralle Ausgabenbestätigt
Porter, Barbara N.MitwirkenderCo-Autoralle Ausgabenbestätigt
Rabb, Theodore K.MitwirkenderCo-Autoralle Ausgabenbestätigt
Rose, ElihuMitwirkenderCo-Autoralle Ausgabenbestätigt
Sears, Stephen W.MitwirkenderCo-Autoralle Ausgabenbestätigt
Showalter, Dennis E.MitwirkenderCo-Autoralle Ausgabenbestätigt
Strauss, Barry S.MitwirkenderCo-Autoralle Ausgabenbestätigt
Waldron, ArthurMitwirkenderCo-Autoralle Ausgabenbestätigt
Wicker, TomMitwirkenderCo-Autoralle Ausgabenbestätigt
Amoroso, LisaUmschlaggestalterCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Bolte, CarlaGestaltungCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Ward, Jeffrey L.CartographerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
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It has been said that "what if?" (or the counterfactual, to use the vogue word in academic circles) is the historian's favorite secret question.
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Historians and inquisitive laymen alike love to ponder the dramatic what-ifs of history. In these never-before-published essays, some of the keenest minds of our time ask the big, tantalizing questions: Where might we be if history had not unfolded the way it did? Why, how, and when was our fortune made real? The answers are surprising, sometimes frightening, and always entertaining. This provocative collection of essays features today's foremost historians speculating on these "what ifs", providing a fascinating new perspective on history's most pivotal events. The essays include: Infectious Alternatives: The Plague that Saved Jerusalem by William H. McNeil; No Glory That Was Greece: The Persians Win at Salamis by Victor Davis Hanson; Conquest Denied: Alexander the Great's Premature Death by Josiah Ober; Furor Teutonicus: The Teutoburg by Lewis Lapham; The Dark Ages Made Lighter: The Consequences of Two Defeats by Barry S. Strauss; The Death that Saved Europe: The Mongols Turn Back by Cecilia Holland; If Only It Had Not Been Such a Wet Summer by Theodore K. Rabb; The Immolation of Hernn Corts by Ross Hassig.

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