“What If . . . ?” Every Civil War armchair general asks the question. Possibilities unfold. Disappointments vanish. Imaginations soar. More questions arise. Asking “What if . . .” is often more than an exercise in wishful fantasy. A serious inquiry sparks rigorous exploration, demands critical thinking, and unlocks important insights.
The Great “What Ifs” of the American Civil War: Historians Tackle the Conflict’s Most Intriguing Possibilities is a collection of thirteen essays by the historians at Emerging Civil War, including a foreword by acclaimed alternate history writer Peter G. Tsouras.
Each entry focuses on one of the most important events of the war and unpacks the options of the moment. To understand what happened, we must look at what could have happened, with the full multitude of choices before us and a clear and objective eye. “What if” is a tool for illumination.
This is not a collection of alternate histories or counterfactual scenarios. Rather, it is an invitation to ask, to learn, and to wonder, “What if . . . ?”