Thursday, September 8, 2016

101 Stumbles in the March of History by Bill Fawcett

So many fiction authors have taken on the notion of “what if” in recent years, to great success. Bill Fawcett does the same in this book of very short essays addressing major moments in history. “What if” Hitler had not been rejected from art school, or “what if” General Douglas MacArthur had halted his attack on North Korea without provoking the Chinese counter-attack, or “what if” Sandra Day O’Connor had sided with Ruth Bader Ginsberg on the vote Bush v. Gore?

The only problem with “what if” scenarios is that they are so frustrating, and so rarely fruitful. Looking back at history knowing what we know now and seeing the points of fracture…is it worth excavating reasons and imagining different scenarios? Perhaps. But one thing is sure: for historians it must be lots of fun. And that is what this book promises to historians and those who like detail-laden and provocative cocktail conversation.

Random House/NAL sent me this book in exchange for an honest review. Just published this month (September 6, 2016), it is filled with arguable premises and conclusions. But for those who like short essays before bed to keep you thinking until slumber, this might be just the ticket.

You can buy this book here: Shop Indie Bookstores

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