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'Lebow has written a sharp... work that many with an interest in the first world war will enjoy. As well as providing a "what-if" analysis of a world without the conflict, Archduke Franz Ferdinand Lives! invites us to reflect in new and unexpected ways on the connectedness of things - and on the unpredictability of history.' The Guardian "Lebow's 'counterfactual' worlds are fascinating... This is an entertaining and plausible series of 'what-ifs' that makes us pause and consider the contingency of what we are pleased to call the real world. ****" - New Internationalist "So is a world without the First World War plausible? Richard Ned Lebow's Archduke Franz Ferdinand Lives! tries hard to convince us it is." - The Independent "Lebow persuasively argues that the outbreak of world war was contingent on the assassination of Franz Ferdinand... So, what if there had been no First World War? Lebow imagines the best and worst plausible worlds... These forays are fun." - The Times "For anybody fascinated by political or social history, this is a stimulating book that will inevitably lead to some thought as to how the world could have developed, and how it could so easily have been a very different place today... I would certainly recommend this." - The Bookbag "A well-written, thought-provoking read, particularly for people with a keen interest in modern history." - Discover Your History "A curious look at an alternative history" - Your Family Tree 'The thought-experiments in Archduke Franz Ferdinand Lives! serve purposes on multiple levels. At its core, Alternate History has always been an intriguing chance to ponder 'what if?' Through Lebow's work, we may see further through analysis that we can apply to our own world and judge our own trends in culture, and science, and political leadership.' - This Day in Alternate History

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Richard Ned Lebow is professor of International Political Theory in the Department of War Studies at King's College London and James O. Freedman Presidential Professor Emeritus of Government at Dartmouth College. He is also a bye-fellow of Pembroke College at the University of Cambridge, and the author of almost 30 books. His work has been cited in The New York Times , The Wall Street Journal , and The Economist , and he has been interviewed on NPR, the BBC, CSPAN, and German, French, and Italian radio and television. He lives in London, England and Etna, New Hampshire.


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13 von 13 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Some Worthwhile Nuggets But Often Boring 4. März 2014
Von Randy Stafford - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Kindle Edition
Professor Lebow's book contains something to interest everybody and, as a total package, will probably satisfy few.

The veteran reader of alternate histories will get impatient with the length of the first chapter explaining the idea of counterfactuals and the place of contingency in history.

The reader interested in World War I will find too little following the "sharp agate point" (to borrow a phrase from Winston's Churchill's foray into alternate history) on which Lebow's worlds deviate from ours.

The three alternate histories Lebow gives us when World War I fails to occur seem too little developed and too heavily emphasize the place of certain ethnic and racial groups in this world.

This is not to say Lebow's work is implausible. Part of the fascination with World War 1's origins is that it is filled with contingencies. Lebow starts with the Archduke surviving his trip to Sarajevo on June 28, 1914. In depicting the consequent events, Lebow, a "political psychologist", chooses to concentrate on personalities, particularly Kaiser Wilhelm's and Franz Ferdinand's. He argues that 1914-1917 were the danger years, that after that period the war, never inevitable, became less likely. In the academic language he sometimes lapses into, he concentrates on the agents, the people, of history and not the structure, the circumstances.

And the worlds he describes are plausible. He may spend, for my taste, too much time covering the fate of individual European Jews who don't end up in America absent a Nazi regime to chase them out of Europe, but, if you're going to talk about the development of classical music, science, and movies in the Western World, Jews are important. Likewise, I could have done without the disproportionate emphasis on the fate of American blacks in this world. Again, though, Lebow's arguments are plausible. The development of jazz and civil rights in America would have been different absent our World War 2.

I'll even forgive the rather frequent references to middle Americans as rubes, monolingual, parochial, and bigoted.

But I did get mighty tired of hearing about repressive Victorian values, a clichéd notion Lebow assigns to our historical America as late as the 1950s. The claim that the Great Depression, which does not happen in Lebow's best case possible world, led to greater movie censorship in America seems correlation and not casuation. (Lebow never actually mentions the Hays Code.) An even less believable claim is when Lebow links those persisting "Victorian sexual values" in his better world lead to a higher rate of HIV infection in America than in our world. On what model does this work?

In short, nuggets of interest here, but I was often bored.
15 von 17 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Extremely poorly organized, not well-researched 11. März 2014
Von Miranda - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
What If books are a common thing anymore, and a world without the world wars is a common topic in them. Lebow takes a different tack than I've seen before. What I've read prviously makes me think that Germany and Austria-Hungary would have used any slight pretext for war, and lacking a good one would have created one themselves. Lebow sees them as more cautious but doesn't ever explain way.

Organization is a big problem in this book. The very last chapter "A Look Back at the Real World" actually focuses mainly on the What If world, and rather than summarizing and strengthening his positions he uses it to bring up topics he's barely addressed in the rest of the book.

He switches between the real world and What If world in the middle of paragraphs, and the only real separation comes when he talks about the differing lives of specific people in the middle chapters. He mentions changes as if he's already explained them but that explanation comes chapters later or not at all.

At times he directly contradicts himself. First he mentions in passing that JFK's older brother Joe, killed in WWII, would become president without the world wars. Then later he says JFK never would have been nominated without the wars due to pervasive anti-Catholic bias, then chapters later he's back to Joe as president, nothing about how he overcame the more severe Catholic bias of the imagined world. There were several of these contradictions.

Lebow gives a random date for the creation of a League of Nations in a world without the wars, but no explanation for why it would come about at that time. He speculates that a certain person would have been a patient of Freud solely because they were Jewish and most of Freud's patients "came from Jewish professional families," with no mention of what problems would have brought the patient there. He spends 2 1/2 pages speculating on the possible career of an artist who actually died as a teenager. I made a lot of similar notes throughout the book.

In the end he offers almost no justification for any of his ideas about the world without the wars, even the most basic ones. It almost seems like this book was an outline or proposal for a novel, rather than a stand-alone piece of non-fiction writing. He also neglects to discuss why he chooses one event cause versus another.

I do not recommend this to anyone.
28 von 35 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Non-Fiction Alternative History? Not Entertaining or Thought Provoking. 7. Januar 2014
Von Steven M. Anthony - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I’ve read many alternative histories, and when done well, they can be outstanding. In my experience, the alternative histories I have been exposed to have been works of fiction. After all, it has to be fiction, right? This work, on the other hand is a bit different. It is almost written in the style of Masters thesis or even a high school report. The author doesn’t deal in alternative history; his term is “counterfactuals”. He begins with the premise that Archduke Franz Ferdinand survived the 1914 assassination attempt in Sarajevo, thus subverting World War I. He then maps out several potential history paths that may have emerged as a result.

Now, first of all, I didn’t exactly find this to be captivating reading, or even very interesting. The style of the work (as noted above) is not conducive to entertainment. Worse, however, I found many of the author’s conclusions to be just silly, and or clearly erroneous.

His primary “counterfactual” is that if Franz Ferdinand had not been assassinated, Europe would have enjoyed 100 years of peace. If your assumption is that WWI never occurred, then you might have an argument. However, I suspect most historians are in agreement that the Sarajevo incident was merely the trigger that released the long pent up military buildups and diplomatic maneuvering that precipitated the war. The author’s assertion that nobody really wanted a war is flatly not true. The statement flies in the face of the rapturous celebrations that broke out in every European capital when war broke out. Pacifism was simply not a political stance that held much sway in 1914. It was only AFTER the horrors of WWI that pacifism spread through Europe. All of the political turmoil that resulted in the assassination would have still been in place absent the death of Franz Ferdinand.

The author does point out the certain negatives would follow from an absence of two World Wars, including a much slower developing civil rights movement. In particular, the author argues that in the absence of two world wars, the United States would have never elected a Catholic President in 1960 or an African American in 2008. Then, however, in his primary “counterfactual” he presents Joseph Kennedy, Jr. (older brother of John F. Kennedy) as being elected President in 1960. Wasn’t he Catholic?

He mentions Eisenhower nationalizing the National Guard in 1958 (in real history) in response to Arkansas Governor Orville Faubus refusing admission of Black students to state colleges. Only problem is that it occurred in 1957 and involved Central High School in Little Rock, a/k/a the 1957 Central High crisis. Either he has the states and Governors mixed up (Alabama and George Wallace) or the dates, or the college versus high school. In any event, it is sloppy research.

And while one may presuppose broad societal trends as resulting from “counterfactuals”, the author goes to quite ridiculous extremes in presenting very specific events that happen 100 years after his supposed history changing event. We can wonder about the career paths of politicians in existence at the time of the event (Churchill, Roosevelt, Ataturk for example), after all, they were already born and had achieved some prominence. To surmise career trajectories for individuals not even born for 40 years after the “counterfactual” event, is absurd. For example, the author sets out a very impressive career for Barack Obama in his primary “counterfactual”. Really? It is clear from many of the author’s asides that he is quite liberal in his political thinking, which is standard for most academics, however, I’m pretty sure that if World War I never occurred, then Barack Obama would have never been born, much less attained the Governorship of the state of Hawaii. I guess a world without Barack Obama is too painful for the author to even consider.

The real problem with this work is that it is really only a pamphlet, and even in its brief form, it is quite boring and not very thought provoking. Some of the ridiculous assertions and predictions made by the author detract from any meaningful consideration of his primary theses. I can’t recommend it.
3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Interesting Premise, Much Speculation, Tedious Reading at Times 10. April 2014
Von George Bush - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Kindle Edition
I was curious to see what might have been if the First World War never happened, I picked up this new book at the Scottsdale Library. First looking at the author’s background to see why the author has such an intense/obsessive interest on the First World War. Richard Ned Lebow ,author lost his parents to the Nazi’s. To the best of his knowledge, his parents fled to Paris in the hope of escaping the Nazi’s – he was born in Paris in 1941. In July 1942, the French National Police rounded up the foreign Jewish population. Richard was saved by an ordinary French Police officer, to whom his mother handed him over before being pushed into a freight car and shipped to Aushcwitz. Later the Police officer handed him over to a group of French Jewish women who smuggled him into an American orphanage. Richard was incredibly lucky to be adopted by a loving American Jewish family. So it is easy to see why he must have ruminated for years what would have happened if the First World War never happened? It was the cause of the Second World War and Hitler’s rise to power.

The author’s premise is that the First World War was dependent on the assassination of Arch Duke Ferdinand. He admits the book is counterfactual, but asserts we all do a certain amount of “counterfactual thinking” in our daily lives – We often think after accidents what we could have done to prevent it – or what would have happened if we took another type of job than the one we are in now, or married a different type of person than one you are married to now. We do this all the time Counterfactual means contrary to facts. A counterfactual describes an event that did not occur. The author contends that if Franz Ferdinand and Sophie had not been assassinated then World War I could have been averted.

In one of his alternative worlds (he gives both the best and worst scenarios), there is no World War II, Holocaust, nuclear weapons or Cold War, but science, medicine and toleration develop at a much slower pace. There is no Israel, Hitler becomes a quack medicine salesman, and English is not the world’s dominant language. Neither John F. Kennedy nor Barak Obama become president and Richard Nixon becomes an evangelical minister. The world does not escape the 1918-20 influenza pandemic, but fewer people die in Europe because of the absence of war, young men are not so concentrated in armies. Global warming still happens because of globalization. The polio vaccine and save commercial air travel are long delayed and personal computers only become popular in the twenty-first century. Although all of this is very compelling and interesting to imagine, when reading his “best guesses” on what people will do psychologically, it is still very speculative.
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A World without World War I 12. Januar 2014
Von T. Kunikov - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I'm usually very wary of counterfactuals. Often they're done by amateurs with little understanding of how variables can and cannot be altered. But if an academic can change a few minor events and keep in mind the actions of all participants, while simultaneously offering alternatives, at the very least a new, richer context can be created for understanding why what did happen was allowed to occur. In this case, Richard Ned Lebow's second chapter, 'Preventing World War I', is full of interesting ideas on why, contrary to many historians and specialists, without the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, war might in fact have been avoided rather than begun over any number of other incidents that were sure to push the heads of empires into doing something irreversible and calamitous.

One of Lebow's cornerstone arguments is that 1914 was a year where an event like the assassination of the Archduke could and did begin a conflagration of events that led all he powers to eventually enter a World War. There were events leading up to 1914 that also brought either two or more of Europe's great powers into conflict, but they were continually resolved. Yet 1914 proved an important year because German generals were wary of Russian rearmament and railway construction, which meant that any advance into France would mean a quicker Russian response and perhaps the loss of Prussia. Thus 1914 was argued as Germany's best and, at the time, only real opportunity to make good on her threats/promises rather than back-down, as Russia had to do a few years previously with a Balkan Crisis.

After the first few chapters the author goes on a series of predictions about a future world that are really little more than fantasies made up of whimsical day dreams and nightmares. The amount of variables that one would need to keep in mind and control to move even a few years past 1914, keeping in mind that WWI has not broken out, is simply impossible. The only other real utility that I can see within the pages of this text, aside from the above mentioned ideas on the beginning and eve of WWI, are how much WWI and WWII influenced society and how radically different society was and could have been if not for these gigantic conflagrations.
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