History Revisited: The Great Battles, Eminent Historians Take on the Great Works of Alternative History Paperback – Feb 9 2008
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"For every history buff who loves to ask 'what if,' this is the perfect book. Plus, it's just plain fun to read!" John C. McManus, author, Alamo in the Ardennes: The Untold Story of the American Soldiers who made the Defense of Bastogne Possible and The 7th Infantry Regiment: Combat in an Age of Terror, the Korean War through the Present
About the Author
J. David Markham is an internationally acclaimed historian, Napoleonic scholar, and award-winning author. He has taught history and other subjects at the university, college, and high school levels and has received numerous teaching awards and recognitions. He lives in Olympia, WA. Mike Resnick is a four-time Hugo Awardwinner and the author of 45 science fiction novels, as well as numerous books of nonfiction, anthologies, short stories, and screenplays. He lives in Cincinnati, OH.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The six stories are all well-written but all of them have appeared in past anthologies. The information and opinions in the essays will also probably be familiar to most fans of the alt-history genre. So this book, while enjoyable, doesn't offer much that is new to genre fans. However, it would make a good introduction to the alt-history genre.
I might have liked reading some of these stories again if the historical essays had not sucked the life out of them.
Edited by J David Markham and Mike Resnick
In concept, this is a great idea. Take some classic military oriented AH short stories: Southern Strategy by Michael Flynn. Must and Shall by Harry Turtledove. The Lucky Strike by Kim Stanley Robinson. Having some classic AH stories in one volume is a great idea in general. Then, each of these stories, pair them with an essay from a bonafide historian exploring the divergence, and its plausiblity.
Such are the lines that History Revisited are built upon. In practice, however, its a failure.
Uniformly, the essays by the historians are long, dull, and unimaginative. The historians mostly reject the scenarios posited by the science fiction writers, and in the worst offenders, seem to look down upon the very idea of the alternative. It is the exception, not the rule, when a historian actually likes the story that he has been paired with, rather than at best bemusement. This sort of condescension takes the wind out of reading the story, if one reads the paired essay immediately afterwards.
This, in my opinion makes the reading experience of the stories less pleasurable and it is for that reason that I don't really recommend this collection--unless you *like* to poke holes in Alternate Histories. If you read AH stories to see where Turtledove or Flynn "clearly got it wrong" and grouse about it, then this collection is definitely your cup of tea. If, instead, you enjoy AH stories on their own merits, you can either read the stories and skip the essays, or if you read the essays, I recommend you read them removed in time and space from the story itself. Otherwise, the pleasure of reading the stories will be diminished, as it was from me.