What If? (essays)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
What If?
First edition cover
EditorRobert Cowley
CountryUnited States
SeriesWhat If?
GenreAlternate history
PublisherG.P. Putnam's Sons
Publication date
Media typePrint (Paperback)
Followed byWhat If? 2 

What If?, subtitled The World's Foremost Military Historians Imagine What Might Have Been, also known as What If? The World's Foremost Historians Imagine What Might Have Been, is an anthology of twenty essays and fourteen 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 much attention.[1]



  • "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[2]
  • "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[3]
  • "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[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "What If?". NPR. March 9, 1998. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
  2. ^ Arnold, Martin (December 21, 2000). "Making Books: The 'What Ifs' That Fascinate". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
  3. ^ Meagher, L. D. (February 7, 2000). "Book asks what might have been". CNN. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
  4. ^ Cearnal, Lee (November 7, 1999). "'Counterfactuals' are topic of 'What if?'". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 23 June 2012.