About the Author
William R. Forstchen, author of several dozen books in the fields of science fiction, history, and historical fiction, resides in western North Carolina. He holds a Ph.D. in history from Purdue University and is a professor of history at Montreat College. His works include the coauthored, New York Times bestselling series Gettysburg, written with Newt Gingrich, the Lost Regiment series, and the award-winning We Look Like Men of War, a novel based on his doctoral dissertation about an African American regiment in the Civil War. He spends most summers in Mongolia, doing archaeological and historical research, and his current hobby is the restoration and flying of a replica P-51 Mustang fighter plane.
Bill Fawcett is the author and editor of more than a dozen books, including You Did What?, It Seemed Like a Good Idea . . . , How to Lose a Battle, and You Said What? He lives in Illinois.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
So many bad decisions, so few pages. When one studies history and has the advantage of 20/20 hindsight you are constantly amazed at the decisions made by otherwise very intelligent leaders. Stalin helped train the German Panzer Corps, Napoleon turned away Robert Fulton and his paddlewheelers, and the Kaiser's own spies actually smuggled Lenin into Russia to start his Bolshevik revolution. There are so many examples of seemingly irrational decisions that one sometimes has to wonder about the sanity of the decision maker and the many other equally possible courses history might have taken.
To be included in this volume the decisions had to meet a few qualifications. First they had to be seriously and unquestionably bad. Further, the decision had to be of some importance, affecting thousands, if not millions, of people. Generally we avoided using decisions made in file heat of battle. Too many can be explained by poor generalship or limited intelligence. Finally the decision, given the information at hand and the way things were done at the time, had to seem like a good idea, even the best of all possible options, but for some small fault in logic or unconsidered possible circumstance that would prove in the end catastrophic.
So enjoy a look at history's follies and feel superior to some of the past's greatest leaders. But occasionally stop and ask yourself which of the decisions being made today, the ones that seem our leaders' most rational, will be included in the 2099 edition of this book.