What If? - Military Historians Imagine What Might Have Been.

Discussion in 'The Book Club' started by Oh_Bollox, Aug 23, 2008.

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  1. Bit of a mind-boggler this. It describes situations where the outcome of a war or even a single battle could have changed the world.

    The first one is a good 'un, involving what would have happened if Sennacherib, king of Assyria, had conquered Jerusalem.

    Not by himself, obviously.

    At the time, the Assyrians were quite 'ard. They took on a coalition of Egyptian, Philistine, Phoenician and Jewish forces and pummeled fook out of them. Judah, at the time, was small and weak, and Jerusalem looked like it was going to get its head kicked in. But the Assyrian army was struck down with disease (the Bible reckons 185,000 dead, which is certainly a massive exaggeration, think of it as Biblese for "We don't know how many of them there were, but there was a fooking lot.") and of course the Jews went "God did it!" proving that their God was harder than everybody else's, ergo they were harder than anybody else.

    But if Sennacherib (and his army) had succeeded, there would be no Jewish faith (because their "KO by disease" cemented their faith that there was only one God), and hence no offshoots from the Jewish faith, so no Christianity or Islam either. So society would be totally different, with no (or at least very different) religious influences affecting us, our history, and our daily lives today.

    The book goes through the ages, what would have happened if Charles Martel hadn't knacked the invading Muslims at Poitiers in 732, what if the Khan hadn't died and the Mongols had continued on into Western Europe in 1242, England getting invaded by the Spaniards in 1588, and other more obvious ones like what if Hitler had invaded the eastern Med instead of Russia in 1942, what if the Yanks had got a thumping at Midway, etc.

    I freely admit to not fully grasping all the consequences of these what ifs? but just cogitating about the ones I can understand hurts my head. I have to bugger off after every chapter and have a think. What makes this book different to other "But what if Hitler had two bollocks?" is just how possible some of these possibilities are. Some of them seem fairly likely, in fact.

    Good material for the procelain throne.
     
  2. A world without all of that Protestant 'Deedlee-dee, King Billy, f*ck the Pope' sh*te would be bliss wouldn't it?
     
  3. Haven't got a Scooby, quite frankly. No doubt we'd only replace it with "Hail Zeus, f*ck Jupiter!"
     
  4. There are in fact, four books if this type that I know about – owing all of them, in fact!

    There’s “What If…” quoted above, “More What If…” in a similar vein but three good ones are “what if Jesus was not crucified” (where is Christianity without the death and resurrection angle); “What if Pizarro had not discovered the potato in South America” (How could the industrial revolution have been fed?) And “The Presidency of Al Gore and 9/11: A real pi$$ take about the eco / environmental impact of tanks on wild life!

    The other two books are “What If; America” – A couple of stand outs are the Anglo-America war in the late nineteenth Century and the “Two Day War” (Cuba, 1962…)

    Final one is (I think) “What Might Have Been ” with the picture of Buzz Aldrin on the moon “photo-shopped” to show a Swastika arm and on the space suit and the Nazi flag flying in place of the Starts and Stripes…

    All good fun and though provoking… The assassination of “VIL” (Lenin) at the Finland Station by (wait for it) “Lek Hervovich Ozvolt” is a real hoot, laying the whole Kennedy assassination story over Lenin…