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The Hinge Factor:
How Chance and Stupidity Have Changed History

by Erik Durschmied

ISBN 1559705728 / 9781559705721 / 1-55970-572-8
Publisher Arcade Publishing
Language English
Edition Softcover
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Book summary

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, providing his emperor with victory? What if Hitler hadn't paused for three vital days during his invasion of France in May 1940, allowing the British Expeditionary Force precious time to evacuate from Dunkirk? Moments like these, argues Erik Durschmied, provide the hinge factor in history: examples of stupidity, chance, or accident that have irrevocably changed the outcome of human history, for better or worse.

Drawing on his extensive experience as a war correspondent with the BBC and CBS, Durschmied 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 unfolding of history. Recounting 17 key moments in human conflict and warfare, The Hinge Factor is not just an amusing meditation on what might have been; it is also a poignant and vivid account of the brutality and stupidity of war. More than just an account of accidents in history, this is a thoughtful and absorbing book. --Jerry Brotton, Amazon.co.uk [via]