I Wish I Had Been There Two

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Byron Hollinshead, Theodore K. Rabb
Doubleday, 2008 - History - 318 pages
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The Authors and Essays in I Wish I’d Been There®, Book Two
Josiah Ober ·At the Deathbed of Alexander the Great
Tom Holland · Hannibal Crosses the Alps
Theodore K. Rabb · Christmas Day in the Year 800
John Julius Norwich · Venice, July 24, 1177
Katherine Fischer Drew · Magna Carta and the King’s Men
Barbara A. Hanawalt · Rebel Leader Confronts King at Smithfield in 1381
Lauro Martines · Ten Thousand Brutes in Renaissance Florence
Geoffrey Parker · August 9, 1588: The Spanish Armada (almost) Surrenders
Katherine Duncan-Jones · The Globe Theatre, February 7, 1601
John H. Elliott · With the Prince of Wales in Madrid, 1623
Mordechai Feingold · By Fits and Starts: The Making of Isaac Newton’s Principia
Ellen T. Harris · Handel Is Fired
William McNeill · Frederick the Great and the Propagation of Potatoes
Paul Kennedy · The Battle of the Nile
Ross King · The “Uncouth Riddle” of Édouard Manet: Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe at the 1863 Salon des Refusés
Richard Pipes · Nicholas II Signs the October Manifesto
Margaret MacMillan · Tunnels, Territory, and Broken Promises: France Betrayed by the Anglo-Saxons?
Charles A. Riley II · Backstage at the Ballets Russes with Picasso
Freeman Dyson · Exorcising Aristotle’s Ghost
John Keegan · The German Surrender to Montgomery at Lüneburg Heath, May 1945

What is the scene or incident in European history that you would like to have witnessed—and why? This is the question that the editors posed to twenty superb historians, who each wrote a personal essay in response. The result is this engrossing book, a worthy sequel to the acclaimed volume on American history, I Wish I’d Been There. From the death of Alexander the Great to the German surrender ending World War II, these essays move across a wide geography for over two millennia and deal with politics, law, religion, peace and war, science and the arts, rebellion, and social change. In addition to adding immediacy, color, and vibrancy to well-known events, they also provide fresh illuminations and interpretations of vital moments in the history of Europe.


I Wish I’d Been There®, Book Two is a marvelous idea, wonderfully and imaginatively executed. It offers a sense of the excitement, the passion, the drama, and the joys and tragedies that are the essence of history.

See the back cover for a list of contributors and the events described.

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About the author (2008)

BYRON HOLLINSHEAD is president of American Historical Publications. Previously, he was president of American Heritage Publishing Company and Oxford University Press, Inc. Hollinshead publishedMHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military HistoryandTime Machine: American History for Kids,and he editedI Wish I’d Been There, which Doubleday published in 2006.

THEODORE K. RABB is a professor of history emeritus at Princeton University. He is the author ofThe Struggle for Stability in Early Modern EuropeandThe Last Days of the Renaissance, among other books. Rabb was the principal historical adviser and commentator for the Emmy-nominated PBS seriesRenaissanceand wrote the series’scompanion book,Renaissance Lives.

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