We’re running a series on the blog to coincide with the 2022 Emerging Civil War Symposium that will focus on What Ifs. While preparing the writers for the series, Editor-in-Chief Chris Mackowski wrote:
“Think about your favorite What If question. What is it? Why does it fascinate you? How does it help you better understand what actually happened? What assumptions to people make when they ask your What If? How can you pop holes in those assumptions?”
And, dear readers, is going to be the focus of the series.
This will NOT be fiction writing or wishful thinking. For example, McClellan doesn’t miss the Lost Order and suddenly find himself pinned against the Susquehanna outside Harrisburg by a victorious Lee. We can’t logically make those leaps without getting into fiction. We’ll also be avoiding “magic bullets” (Grant falls off a horse and dies!) or people acting “out of character” (no suddenly aggressive McClellans).
We hope that engaging with the concept of “What If” within historical scenarios and contexts can help us gain deeper understandings about what really did happen…and possibly some insights to why.
Here are a couple of other posts from earlier this year that help to set the stage for this new blog series!
And be sure to check out the new ECW book: The Great “What Ifs” of the American Civil War