Alternative history that's not scifi or WW2 related

Oops. Yes, you’re right. Not sure how I reversed that in my head. (Been a while since I read them, obviously. And, as to the dating cockup…well, that’s actually pure ignorance on my part. I’m not hugely familiar with the ACW.)

If It Had Happened Otherwise is the start of what we now call alternate history, at least as a concept in the form we’re familiar with. Lots of other historians have played with the concept, as in What If?: The World’s Foremost Military Historians Imagine What Might Have Been and What If? II both edited by Robert Crowley.

In the realms of fiction, many standard literary authors have had a fling with the genre.

Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America has Charles Lindbergh defeating Franklin Roosevelt in the 1940 presidential election.

Vladimir Nabokov’s Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle takes place in an alternate 19th century.

Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policemen’s Union postulates that Jews after WWII were given a part of Alaska in which to settle.

Kingley Amis’ The Alteration takes place in a world in which the Reformation did not take place.

Most alternate histories are f&sf, but mysteries have an interesting variant by making famous historical characters the detectives. Lillian de la Torre pioneered the subgenre with a long series of stories about Samuel Johnson, Robert Lee Hall uses Benjamin Franklin, Peter Lovesey has Prince Albert, Elliott Roosevelt wrote about his mother, Eleanor, Peter Heck featured Mark Twain. There are hundreds of these, without including the hundreds of Sherlock Holmes pastiches that take him out of Victorian days to any point including the future. The Science-Fictional Sherlock Holmes is a prize collector’s item, unavailable in good condition for less than three figures.

The first alternate history I ever read was If the South Had Won the Civil War by MacKinlay Kantor, published on the occasion of the Civil War Centennial in 1960. (This might have been the first of the “CSA wins” genre.) The timelines diverge when Pickett’s Charge succeeds and Grant is killed in an equestrian accident at Vicksburg. Texas soon secedes from the CSA, while the CSA goes on to conquer Cuba.

Not really.

1900 — Williams, F.P. Hallie Marshall: A True Daughter of the South
1931 — Churchill, Winston S. “If Lee had not Won the Battle of Gettysburg”
1936 — Dabney, Virginius. “If the South had Won the War”

Ward Moore’s 1953 novel, Bring the Jubilee, also proceeds it.

  • The Indians Won * by Martin Cruz Smith about the Native Americans vs the United States

Harry Harrison’s * A Transatlantic Tunnel , Hurrah ! *where the timeline changes when George Washington is defeated , the Thirteen Colonies remain part of the British Empire alongside French and Spanish North America , and Isambard Kingdom Brunel is building an,underwater railway tunnel to connect these parts of empire.

For Want of a Nail: If Burgoyne Had Won at Saratoga by Robert Sobel. An alternate Revolutionary War, written as a history text book.

Much early television depicts an America where there are apparently no Black people. One of the sequels to The Thin Man (possibly Song of the Thin Man) shows an America where all the jazz musicians are white.

The Flintstones certainly live in an alternate history of sorts.

H. Beam Piper wrote science fiction but alternate timeline stories as well’’
He Walked Around the Horses is a story told in a series of letters from British and German officials, wondering what to do with a"crazy" man who has slipped from one timeline to another. It’s based on the real life story of Benjamin Bathurst. If you know your history, the signature at the end of the last letter is a real hoot.

Also you could try Piper’s Crossroads of Destiny, a short story about people trying to develop a TV show. The ending on that one is a shocker.

Decades of Darkness

One of the best alternate histories ever written, full stop.

I have brought this up in similar threads in the past but the book Warday was written about the near future but now reads as AH as time has passed it by. It is about a “limited” nuclear war being fought in the 90s.