What Ifs? of American History
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Did Eisenhower avoid a showdown with Stalin by not taking Berlin before the Soviets? What might have happened if JFK hadn't been assassinated? This new volume in the widely praised series presents fascinating "what if..." scenarios by such prominent historians as: Robert Dallek, Caleb Carr, Antony Beevor, John Lukacs, Jay Winick, Thomas Fleming, Tom Wicker, Theodore Rabb, Victor David Hansen, Cecelia Holland, Andrew Roberts, Ted Morgan, George Feifer, Robert L. O'Connell, Lawrence Malkin, and John F. Stacks.
Included are two essential bonus essays reprinted from the original New York Times bestseller What If?-David McCullough imagines Washington's disastrous defeat at the Battle of Long Island, and James McPherson envisions Lee's successful invasion of the North in 1862.
Heights—all this carried out in disregard of the old cardinal rule of never dividing an army in the face of a superior foe. When, on August 22, the British began ferrying troops across the Narrows to land farther south on Long Island, about eight miles from the little village of Brooklyn, Washington responded by sending still more of his army across the East River, which, it should be noted, is not really a river at all, but a tidal strait, a mile-wide arm of the sea with especially strong
advance of a huge force of nearly 100,000 troops. Two days after battle, he was near ecstatic and wrote his wife, “My whole command behaved like heroes, never yielding an inch.” Wallace made no efforts to hide his pride, predicting a quick pursuit, and with the destruction of the fleeing Confederates an early end to the Civil War itself. Yet four days after the battle ended, a strange sequence of events began to unfold that would destroy Wallace’s career—and create the conditions for the writing
These tactics carried Kentucky for the Republicans and helped give Lincoln his narrow margin of control in the House of Representatives in 1862. When the state Democratic convention met in Frankfort in February 1863, Colonel E. A. Gilbert marched the 44th Ohio into the meeting hall and dispersed the assembly at bayonet point. Another variety of intimidation was the job Republicans did on Democratic editors in Kentucky. No less than seventeen newspapers were smashed up by mobs, often with soldiers
ballot box while Grant and Sherman meet them in the field.” The Indianapolis Journal boldly called the Democratic presidential candidate, General George McClellan, the commander of an “insurrectionary army” that had plotted to bring the war into the peaceful precincts of the upper Midwest. Another paper called for victory over “the McClellan, Vallandigham, and Dodd party.” It all added up to a propaganda triumph for the Republicans. For years they had been trying to smear the Democrats with the
British Empire in North America from fragmenting. It was Pitt, whom many regard as the greatest British statesman of the eighteenth century, who guided his country through the Seven Years’ War (1756– 1763)—what Americans call the French and Indian War—and who transformed Great Britain into an imperial power. That power was founded on the twin colonial pillars of North America and India. But within twelve years, the American pillar had begun to crumble. Too late Britain learned the lessons that