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Historians and inquisitive laymen alike love to ponder the dramatic what-ifs of history. In these never-before-published essays, some of the keenest minds of our time ask the big, tantalizing questions: Where might we be if history had not unfolded the way it did? Why, how, and when was our fortune made real. The answers are surprising, sometimes frightening, and always entertaining.

This provocative collection of essays features today's foremost historians speculating on these "what-ifs," providing a fascinating new perspective on history's most pivotal events. The essays include "Infectious Alternatives: The Plague that Saved Jerusalem" by William H. McNeil; "No Glory that Was Greece: The Persians Win at Salamis" by Victor Davis Hanson; "Conquest Denied: Alexander the Great's Premature Death" by Josiah Ober; "Furor Teutonicus: The Teutoburg" by Lewis Lapham; "The Dark Ages Made Lighter: The Consequences of Two Defeats" by Barry S. Strauss; "The Death that Saved Europe: The Mongols Turn Back" by Cecilia Holland; "If Only It Had Not Been Such a Wet Summer" by Theodore K. Rabb; and "The Immolation of Hernan Cortés" by Ross Hassig.

©1999 American Historical Publications, Inc., All Rights Reserved (P)2000 by Simon & Schuster, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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