9781559705721 / 1559705728

The Hinge Factor: How Chance and Stupidity Have Changed History


Publisher:Arcade Publishing



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About the book:

What if it hadn't rained at Agincourt in 1415 and the French had, as expected, won the day? What if one of Napoleon's most trusted commanders had spiked Wellington's guns with a handful of nails at Waterloo in 1815, handing victory to his Emperor? What if Hitler hadn't paused for three vital days in his invasion of France in May 1940, allowing the British Expeditionary Force precious time to evacuate from Dunkirk? It is moments like these, argues Erik Durschmied, that provide The Hinge Factor in history: moments of stupidity, chance or accident which have irrevocably changed the outcome of human history, for better or for worse.

Drawing on his extensive experience as a war correspondent with the BBC and CBS, Durschmied's compelling book moves from ancient Troy and the Trojan Horse to Iraq and Operation Desert Storm, offering a persuasive and at times wry account of the ways in which chance affects the ways in which history unfolds. Recounting 17 key moments in the history of human conflict and warfare, The Hinge Factor is not just an amusing meditation on what might have been in history; it is also a poignant and vivid account of the brutality and stupidity which comes with war. More than just an account of accidents in history, this is a thoughtful and absorbing book. --Jerry Brotton

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