What If? 2: Eminent Historians Imagine What Might Have Been
This sequel to What If? contains twenty-five essays from historians both professional and amateur (Caleb Carr contributes to this present volume) speculating on what might have happened if key turning points in our history had gone a different way. The essays are arranged in chronological order, from the first ‑- Socrates’ premature death at Delium (424 BCE) ‑- to the last ‑- America without Nixon, Johnson, or Kennedy (1948 CE), with the exception of the very last essay in the book, an interesting speculation by William H. McNeill about the consequences to history if Pizarro had not discovered the potato during his conquest of Peru and introduced it to Europe at the end of the 16th century.
While 17 of the 25 essays cover history from 1800 or later, and 8 of them deal with American history, the collection still manages to offer at least one essay of interest to everyone — even though a few of the historians seem to restrict themselves to recapping what is known about the actual situation rather than speculating in detail about what would happen if it were changed.