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Altered Pasts

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9780349140179

Price: £9.99

ON SALE: 4th August 2016

Genre: Humanities / History

A bullet misses its target in Sarajevo, a would-be Austrian painter gets into the Viennese academy, Lord Halifax becomes British prime minister in 1940: seemingly minor twists of fate on which world-shaking events might have hinged.

Alternative history has long been the stuff of parlour games, war-gaming and science fiction, but over the past few decades it has become a popular stomping ground for serious historians. Richard J. Evans now turns a critical, slightly jaundiced eye on the subject. Altered Pasts examines the intellectual fallout from historical counterfactuals. Most importantly, Evans takes counterfactual history seriously, looking at the insights, pitfalls and intellectual implications of changing one thread in the weave of history.


Unfailingly interesting
Andrew Holgate, Sunday Times
A stimulating, thought-provoking and in places quite humorous book that will be of interest to professional and lay readers alike
Times Higher Education Supplement
His critique is eloquent and lively, without rancour or cruelty
Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, The Times
Characteristically pugnacious
Jonathan Derbyshire, Prospect
Evans is at his best when dissecting the motives of right-wing thinkers
Wide-ranging polemic . . . Evans is at his best on questions of historical causation . . . Altered Pasts brings an impressive historical intelligence to bear on what are too often dismissed as parlour games
Sunday Telegraph
Evans is ruthless, forensic and totally convincing in demolishing this pretext, finding instead an even greater determinism, where the autonomous actions of a handful of great men set in motion enormous, immutable forces
The place of Richard Evans in modern historiography - a distinguished place - is assured
Times Literary Supplement
One of the most important and prolific historians of our time . . . Altered Pasts provides much food for thought, not only for professional historians but also for general readers interested in how and why history is written in certain ways. Intelligent, lucid and engaging
Irish Times
A good read, which stimulates further reflection about the nature of history
Financial Times