Could Napoleon have won the battle of Waterloo? And what would have happened if he had? Or suppose Nelson had not destroyed the French fleet at Aboukir, would Napoleon have conquered India and become Emperor of the East? What if Hitler had not halted his panzer forces before Dunkirk and had entrapped the entire British Expeditionary Force? How would Churchill have then denied the Wehrmacht? If by chance Hitler had been assassinated in 1944 and the German General Staff taken control, would there have been a totally different kind of surrender?
In examining these and other contingencies, Major General Strawson brings his experience of command in war and his skill as a military historian to present us with an enthralling catalogue of chance and speculation, while emphasising how profoundly the character of commanders influenced events and how events affected their character.