October 2, 2007

Book Review - Fateful Choices

What determined the path of World War II? Did early decisions direct the outcome of the war?

Fateful Choices: Ten Decisions that Changed the World, 1940-1941
Ian Kershaw
D 741 .K43 2007

In this study, Ian Kershaw selects ten decision points, each of which had tremendous impact on the course and outcome of World War II. Each chapter, dedicated to one of these decision points, discusses possible other choices that could have been made, the outcomes that they might have caused, and analyzes how the ultimate decision was reached. This "what if" approach to history is increasingly accepted by scholars as a way to better understand the conditions that key figures were facing during the events that are studied. Kershaw's work is well grounded in historical literature and well documented. Even those with limited interest in the minutae of history may find this book useful for the lessons that it can teach to scenario planners.