A lively sequel to Fawcett’s 100 Mistakes that Changed History (2010), with few surprises.
From the first ancient Chinese emperor’s vainglorious quest for immortality to the Japanese building of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant directly over a fault line, the author plucks out of a long historical dateline some of the glaring follies in leadership that, if handled differently, just might have changed history. Had Qin Shi Huang properly educated his son for succession rather than jealously isolating him, the first great Chinese empire might have survived and thrived. Had the Japanese updated rather than denied safety regulations, the nuclear fallout after the 2011 tsunami might have been minimized. If Hannibal hadn’t insisted on crossing the Alps with elephants in 218 B.C., he would not have destroyed his Carthaginian army. If Harold II had not precipitously declared himself king of Britain and rushed into battle, he might have been able to withstand the onslaught of William of Normandy at the decisive Battle of Hastings. Fawcett examines myriad shoulda-woulda-coulda examples concerning history’s great names, narrated in fairly flat-footed prose but supported by proficient research. How would history have changed had France and England challenged Hitler immediately on the occupation of the Rhineland; had Hitler not given a stop order at Dunkirk in 1940; or had he not invaded Russia? What if the United States had not underestimated the Japanese military threat before being tested at Pearl Harbor? And how would the world have turned out today if President George W. Bush had heeded ominous terrorist signs well before 9/11?
An effortless, accessible way to learn history.