Below I’ll give you my selections for the best Counterfactual History books by a few categories. I will cover these and other great books more in depth later.
- Virtual History: Alternatives and Counterfactuals (2011)
- Telling It Like It Wasn’t: The Counterfactual Imagination in History and Fiction (2018)
- Counterfactuals: Paths of the Might have Been (2019)
- Decision at Antietam: A counterfactual history of the Civil War (2018)
- What Ifs? of American History: Eminent Historians Imagine What Might Have Been (What If Essays) (2004)
- Hitler Triumphant: Alternate Histories of World War II (2011)
- Altered Pasts: Counterfactuals in History (2016)
- Causation and Counterfactuals (Representation and Mind series) (2004)
- A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II (2005)
- Altered Pasts: Counterfactuals in History (The Menahem Stern Jerusalem Lectures) (2014)
- Unmaking the West: “What-If?” Scenarios That Rewrite World History (2006)
What if Britain had stayed out of the First World War? What if Germany had won the Second? How would England look if there had been no Cromwell? What would the world be like if Communism had never collapsed? And what if John F. Kennedy had lived?
Inventing counterfactual histories is a common pastime of modern day historians, both amateur and professional. We speculate about an America ruled by Jefferson Davis, a Europe that never threw off Hitler, or a second term for JFK. These narratives are often written off as politically inspired fantasy or as pop culture fodder, but in Telling It Like It Wasn’t, Catherine Gallagher takes the history of counterfactual history seriously, pinning it down as an object of dispassionate study.
What are counterfactuals and what is their point? In many cases, none at all. It may be true that if kangaroos didn’t have tails, they would fall over, but they do have tails and if they didn’t they wouldn’t be kangaroos (or would they?). This is the sort of thing that can give counterfactuals a bad name, as inhabitants of a La La Land of the mind.
Could the South have won the Civil War? This question has been asked and answered affirmatively dozens of times. But how likely was it, in reality? Now Andrew J. Heller (Gray Tide in the East) explores this fascinating subject using the tool of counterfactual analysis, instead of uninformed opinion, to look for an answer in Decision at Antietam.
What Ifs? of American History: Eminent Historians Imagine What Might Have Been (What If Essays) (2004)
Did Eisenhower avoid a showdown with Stalin by not taking Berlin before the Soviets? What might have happened if JFK hadn’t been assassinated?
What if the Allies had been defeated at Normandy? What if the German airborne had kept its wings after the capture of Crete? How would Britain have stood up in the face of tyranny after the fall of France should Winston Churchill have been absent from office? In this fascinating collection of alternate outcomes to some of the most pivotal moments of World War II, Peter G.
A bullet misses its target in Sarajevo, a would-be Austrian painter gets into the Viennese academy, Lord Halifax becomes British prime minister in 1940: seemingly minor twists of fate on which world-shaking events might have hinged.Alternative history has long been the stuff of parlour games, war-gaming and science fiction, but over the past few decades it has become a popular stomping ground for serious historians. Richard J. Evans now turns a critical, slightly jaundiced eye on the subject.
One philosophical approach to causation sees counterfactual dependence as the key to the explanation of causal facts: for example, events c (the cause) and e (the effect) both occur, but had c not occurred, e would not have occurred either.
In a new edition featuring a new preface, A World of Arms remains a classic of global history. Widely hailed as a masterpiece, this volume remains the first history of World War II to provide a truly global account of the war that encompassed six continents.
A bullet misses its target in Sarajevo, a would-be Austrian painter gets into the Viennese academy, Lord Halifax becomes British prime minister in 1940 instead of Churchill: seemingly minor twists of fate on which world-shaking events might have hinged.
What if the Persians had won at Salamis? What if Christ had not been crucified? What if the Chinese had harnessed steam power before the West? Disparaged by some as a mere parlor game, counterfactual history is seen by others as an indispensable historical tool. Taking as their point of inquiry the debate over the inevitability of the rise of the West, the eminent scholars in Unmaking the West argue that there is no escaping counterfactual history.
Best Counterfactual History Books Worth Your Attention
We highly recommend you to buy all paper or e-books in a legal way, for example, on Amazon. But sometimes it might be a need to dig deeper beyond the shiny book cover. Before making a purchase, you can visit resources like Library Genesis and download some counterfactual history books mentioned below at your own risk. Once again, we do not host any illegal or copyrighted files, but simply give our visitors a choice and hope they will make a wise decision.
Telling It Like It Wasn’t: The Counterfactual Imagination in History and Fiction
Author(s): Catherine Gallagher
ID: 2441959, Publisher: University of Chicago Press, Year: 2018, Size: 2 Mb, Format: pdf
Decision at Antietam: A Counterfactual History of the Civil War
Author(s): Heller, Andrew J
ID: 2678990, Publisher: Fiction4all, Year: 2018, Size: 2 Mb, Format: epub
Altered Pasts: Counterfactuals in History
Author(s): Richard J. Evans
ID: 2275197, Publisher: Brandeis University Press / Historical Society of Israel, Year: 2013, Size: 447 Kb, Format: epub
Please note that this booklist is not definite. Some books are truly hot items according to Los Angeles Times, others are written by unknown writers. On top of that, you can always find additional tutorials and courses on Coursera, Udemy or edX, for example. Are there any other relevant books you could recommend? Drop a comment if you have any feedback on the list.