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Book Title: Virtual History: Alternatives and Counterfactuals|
The author of the book: Niall Ferguson
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 7.41 MB
Edition: Pan Publishing
Date of issue: March 7th 2003
ISBN 13: 9780330413039
Read full description of the books Virtual History: Alternatives and Counterfactuals:A re-read & an upgrade from a 2 to a 4 Star rating
A lot was spent on the introduction but i’ll admit to skipping that after around 20 pages as was too disjointed for me to follow & wanted to get right to the meat of it! Have to admit you would need to know about each era & the politics of the actual history when reading about the virtual theories otherwise its quite hard to follow & perhaps picture, as well as separate the fact from the fiction. England without Cromwell was a little staid for sure.
Would America have come about if no AWI was of more interest & the hypotheses raised of note I would say...... if not in 1776 then it would have occurred at another juncture so goes the theory & probably revolved around the slave trade & caused a North/South war & separation thereafter.
Irish Home Rule in 1912 got my attention & again I liked the way it could have played out, with a suggestion that an even worse scenario could have been created with a unified Ireland being likened to Yugoslavia with all it’s religious division.......?
Britain staying neutral in WWI with the general consensus, that, it would have kept its empire & financial power as the world leader but it got dragged into a war in the west by backing France/Russia entente or if it didn’t back it.... it encouraged a German/central powers invasion of both or either.... was in a no win situation really & by doing the right thing? Gave up its empire.....
The next sees a Britain invaded by Germany by virtue of a number of scenarios mostly revolving around that if Hitler had actually had a plan in early 1940, it was more than achievable but it seemed the will was not really there for all manner of reasons.....
What IF Hitler had defeated Uncle Joe.... it seemed plans to “regermanise” the East were in place through Himmler & others which had already started to be enacted in Poland through 1941, a well known factor was the late start for Operation Barbarossa as the Germans had to move through the Balkans to bail out the Italians leaving them short of capturing Moscow & Leningrad as winter hit their forces in late 1941.... another was the fixation of capturing Stalingrad which doomed/lost a quarter of a million german & axis forces.........
cold war was quite lame but mainly as it’s only been presented by western historians as the Kremlin still has its files classified so it was a very short chapter & not that thought provoking tbh which is a real shame........
JFK is covered too, a what if he lived scenario which made him out to be a bit of a villain really, not quite the saint his assassination portrayed him to be.......
then there’s the non-fall of the Berlin wall which again was thought provoking.
The Final chapter puts all the virtual realities together & plays out the whole period from the English Civil war to the fall (or not?) of the Berlin wall & it makes for a great finish to a book which Ive much more enjoyed second time around by virtue of reading small chunks at a time.
Read information about the authorNiall Ferguson is a British (Scottish) historian who specialises in financial and economic history as well as the history of empire. He is the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University and the William Ziegler Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. He was educated at the private Glasgow Academy in Scotland, and at Magdalen College, Oxford.
He is best known outside academia for his revisionist views rehabilitating imperialism and colonialism; within academia, his championing of counterfactual history is a subject of some considerable controversy. In 2008, Allen Lane published his most recent book, The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World which he also presented as a Channel 4 television series.
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