What If? (essays)
What If?, subtitled The World's Foremost Military Historians Imagine What Might Have Been, is a collection of twenty essays and thirteen sidebars dealing with counterfactual history. It was published by G.P. Putnam's Sons in 1999, ISBN 0-399-14576-1, and this book as well as its two sequels, What If? 2 and What Ifs? of American History, were edited by Robert Cowley. It was later combined with What If? 2 to form The Collected What If?.
Cowley decided to create the book after several "What if?" articles were published in the Military History Quarterly, which he edits, and received a lot of attention.
- "Infectious Alternatives" by William H. McNeill
- "No Glory That Was Greece" by Victor Davis Hanson
- "Conquest Denied" by Josiah Ober
- "Furor Teutonicus: The Teutoburg Forest, A.D. 9" by Lewis H. Lapham
- "The Dark Ages Made Lighter" by Barry S. Strauss
- "The Death That Saved Europe" by Cecelia Holland
- "If Only It Had Not Been Such a Wet Summer" by Theodore K. Rabb
- "The Immolation of Hernán Cortés" by Ross Hassig
- "The Repulse of the English Fireships" by Geoffrey Parker
- What if the Spanish Armada had successfully landed in England?
- "Unlikely Victory" by Thomas Fleming
- "What the Fog Wrought" by David McCullough
- "Ruler of the World" by Alistair Horne
- What if Napoleon Bonaparte had chosen to do several things differently?
- "If the Lost Order Hadn't Been Lost" by James M. McPherson
- "A Confederate Cannae and Other Scenarios" by Stephen W. Sears
- What if the Civil War had not lasted as long as it did? (Five ways are presented here.)
- "The What Ifs of 1914" by Robert Cowley
- "How Hitler Could Have Won the War" by John Keegan
- "Our Midway Disaster" by Theodore F. Cook, Jr.
- "D Day Fails" by Stephen E. Ambrose
- What if the Allied invasion of Europe had failed in June 1944?
- "Funeral in Berlin" by David Clay Large
- "China Without Tears" by Arthur Waldron
- "Probably the most interesting nonfiction historical fiction was What If?: The World's Foremost Military Historians Imagine What Might Have Been (Putnam, 1999). Its editor, Robert Cowley, persuaded two dozen historians to write essays on how a slight turn of fate at a decisive moment could have changed the very annals of time." —The New York Times
- "The essays collected in What If? are sober extrapolations from historical fact. Even so, they're a lot of fun. They remind us of the slender threads on which our past hangs. One small break—at Poitiers or on Long Island, at Gettysburg or in Berlin—might have unraveled the entire tapestry of modern history." —CNN
- "Those and other provocative 'counterfactuals' are the topic of the intriguing What if?, a compilation of essays by 34 distinguished historians... Each essay testifies to the fact that history hangs by a thread." —Houston Chronicle
- "What If?". NPR. March 9, 1998. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
- Arnold, Martin (December 21, 2000). "Making Books: The 'What Ifs' That Fascinate". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
- Meagher, L. D. (February 7, 2000). "Book asks what might have been". CNN. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
- Cearnal, Lee (November 7, 1999). "'Counterfactuals' are topic of 'What if?'". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 23 June 2012.