The three-day Battle of Gettysburg continues to hold occupy pride of place among those interested in the American Civil War. While other campaigns and battles contain as much human drama and are as important for historical purposes, none have even a remote possibility of dislodging this epic engagement from its lofty position. While most remain fascinated by the nature of the fighting and the controversial role the several commanders played in influencing the outcome, a surprising number are devoted to concentrating on the “what if” aspects of the battle.
Alternate history only works if the writers are familiar with the actual historical event and those factors that influenced the event. Ignorance of the fundamentals destroys the fun of the “what if” possibilities. Editors Thomsen and Greenberg have assembled twelve writers for the contrafactual point of view and four for brief essays providing historical overview. The writing is uneven. The concluding four historical analyses are thoughtful and clearly written. The fictional essays are entertaining and thought-provoking and should satisfy fans of the genre. A suggestion for the reader: read the four articles in the Appendix first. They will lay the foundation for the fictional accounts which are the basis for the book.