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  1. As it happens, I am currently reading a fine book on the American Revolution. It is Valiant Ambition by Nathaniel Philbrick and centers around George Washington and Benedict Arnold. It is well-researched and favorably reviewed. I’m learning so much more than I ever did from dry history courses.

    Valiant Ambition may be one of the greatest what-if books of the age—a volume that turns one of America’s best-known narratives on its head.
    —Boston Globe

  2. What if frogs had wings? They wouldn’t bump their butts every time they jumped!
    What if’s as they relate to the past,usually involve fantasy and speculation.They are moot points.

    • I think you’re missing my point, John. Authors deliberately ask themselves “what if?” as a means of stimulating imagination and generating story ideas. A children’s author might speculate “what if a frog really did have wings?” and go on to write a story about Jumpy the Frog who awoke one day to discover he had wings. Asking “what if?” about the past could be either the beginnigs of a novel (What if the South had won the Civil War?) or the begnning of new research into the details of a particular event. In neither case is it a moot point. It’s the jumping off point for the author’s work.

"A republic, if you can keep it." -- Benjamin Franklin

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