Throughout history, great and terrible events have often hinged upon sheer luck. Tiny changes to great enterprises can produce profoundly different results. We all ask ‘what might have been?’ about our own lives, now Andrew Roberts has assembled a team of twelve leading historians and biographers and asked them what might have happened if major world events had gone differently?
Each concentrating in the area in which they are a leading authority, historians as distinguished as Antonia Fraser, Norman Stone and Anne Somerset look at vital moments of history and consider: ‘What Might Have Been?’
In her first publication since her acclaimed Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, Amanda Foreman looks at what might have happened if Lincoln’s Northern States of America and Lord Palmerston’s Great Britain had gone to war, as they so nearly did in 1861. Whether it’s Stalin fleeing Moscow in 1941, as imagined by Simon Sebag Montefiore, or Napoleon not being forced to retreat from it in 1812, as recorded by Adam Zamoyski, the events covered here are important, world-changing ones.
George W. Bush’s former White House advisor David Frum considers a President Al Gore’s response to 9/11, while Simon Heffer posits a Heseltine premiership had Margaret Thatcher been assassinated by the I.R.A. in Brighton. Conrad Black wonders how the United States might have entered the Second World War if the Japanese had not bombed Pearl Harbor.
All twelve essays are thought-provoking and scholarly, some of them posit a fascinating and often horrifying parallel universe – a universe that so easily just might have been.
They include: WHAT IF…
THE SPANISH ARMADA LANDED IN ENGLAND …
THE GUNPOWDER PLOT SUCCEEDED …
KING CHARLES I WON THE CIVIL WAR …
GREAT BRITAIN WON THE AMERICAN WAR OF INDEPENDENCE
NAPOLEON TRIUMPHED IN RUSSIA …
THE TRENT INCIDENT HAD LED TO WAR …
ARCHDUKE FRANZ FERDINAND SURVIVED SARAJEVO
LENIN WAS ASSASSINATED AT THE FINLAND STATION
STALIN FLED MOSCOW IN 1941 …
Simon Sebag Montefiore
THE JAPANESE DID NOT ATTACK PEARL HARBOR …
THE BRIGHTON BOMB KILLED MARGARET THATCHER
102 CHADS FELL OFF IN FLORIDA