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.
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October 12, 2004
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Excerpt from What Ifs? Of American History by Robert Cowley
The name Mayflower evokes a mýlange of associations: the Pilgrim Fathers, Plymouth Rock, the first Thanksgiving, or the faintly aristocratic cachet attached to descendants of those who, in 1620, sailed on America's most famous immigrant ship. All that begs the real importance of the Mayflower and its passengers, who were mainly humble people by birth as well as accomplishment and, for their time, radicals. The real Puritan aristocracy would arrive a decade later on a larger and better appointed ship, the Arbella; they never did get on with their Plymouth neighbors, though both would play a part in establishing a specially American sense of destiny. As the historian Daniel J. Boorstin has written, their "beacon for misguided mankind was to be neither a book nor a theory. It was to be the community itself. America had something to teach all men: not by precept but by example, not by what it said but how it lived."