Cover image for It seemed like a good idea-- : a compendium of great historical fiascoes
It seemed like a good idea-- : a compendium of great historical fiascoes
Forstchen, William R.
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : Post Road Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
xii, 300 pages ; 20 cm
General Note:
"Quill book."

Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
D10 .I88 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Throughout the annals of history, the best of intentions--and sometimes the worst--have set in motion events with a vastly different outcome than originally intended. In this entertaining, fact-filled chronicle, William Forstchen and Bill Fawcett explore the watersheds of history that began as the best of ideas and ended as the worst of fiascoes.

A Holy War--The Medieval Crusades for religious liberation become centuries of slaughter and destruction.

Sibling Rivalry--Leif Erikson spares his sister's life and delays the discovery of the New World for five hundred years.

Big Guns--Emperor Constantine XI refuses to buy a new supercannon that would let him dominate his enemies, so its creator sells the cannon to the Turks, who then crush Constantinople.

With casual wit and subtle insight, It Seemed Like a Good Idea...tucks tongue in cheek and rides out the fiascoes of history.

Author Notes

Writer and educator William R. Forstchen was born in New Jersey in 1950. He received a B.A. from Rider College in Lawrenceville, New Jersey and a M.A. in European history and a Ph.D. in military history from Purdue University.

Forstchen teaches at Montreat College in Asheville, North Carolina.

Forstchen uses his knowledge of military history to create science fiction stories of other universes and societies. His series include Gamestar Wars, Ice Prophet, and The Lost Regiment. He is also the co-author with Newt Gingrich of 1945, an alternative history of World War II. His other stand-alone novels include The Four Magics, Doctors of the Night, One Second After and its sequel, One Year After which hit the New York Times Bestseller list in September 2015.

(Bowker Author Biography)



It Seemed Like a Good Idea... A Compendium Of Great Historical Fiascoes Chapter One 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. Bill Fawcett It Seemed Like a Good Idea... A Compendium Of Great Historical Fiascoes . Copyright © by William R. Forstchen. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from It Seemed Like a Good Idea...: A Compendium of Great Historical Fiascoes by William R. Forstchen, Bill Fawcett All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.