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100 Mistakes that Changed History

100 Mistakes that Changed History

Collected in one volume, here are backfires and blunders that collapsed empires, crashed economies, and altered the course of the world.

From the Maginot Line to the Cuban Missile Crisis, history is filled with bad moves and not-so-bright ideas that snowballed into disasters and unintended consequences.

This engrossing book looks at one hundred such tipping points. Japan bombs Pearl Harbor. The Caliphs of Baghdad spend themselves into bankruptcy. The Aztecs greet the Conquistadors with open arms. Mexico invites the Americans to Texas-and the Americans never leave.

And the rest is history...

Introduction: History-Making Mistakes

Chapter 1 - AMBITION: The Mistake That Made the West 499 BCE

Chapter 2 - AHEAD OF HIS TIME: A Pharaoh Goes Too Far 1390 BCE

Chapter 3 - SHORTSIGHTED: Divided We Fall 1020 BCE

Chapter 4 - MISPLACED TRUST: A Slave Changes History 480 BCE

Chapter 5 and 6 - AMBITION AND SUPERSTITION: Risking It All 415 BCE

Chapter 7 - COWARDICE: How to Lose an Empire 331 BCE

Chapter 8 - LACK OF PLANNING: The Death of Alexander the Great 323 BCE

Chapter 9 - SPLIT COMMAND: Tradition Destroys an Army 216 BCE

Chapter 10 - PRIDE: An Offer They Should Not Have Refused 204 BCE

Chapter 11 - PERSONAL AMBITION: Political Suicide 133 BCE

Chapter 12 - PLAYING TO THE ENEMY’S STRENGTHS: Trapped in Alesia 52 BCE

Chapter 13 - NO GOING BACK: Most Useless Cut of All 44 BCE

Chapter 14 - GOTTA KNOW THE TERRITORY: Varus’ Lost Legions 9 CE

Chapter 15 - THE HIGH COST OF THE EASIEST WAY: Leaded 30

Chapter 16 - ... AND DENARII FOOLISH: Destroying Your Economy 55

Chapter 17 - OVERCONFIDENCE: Destroyed by a Victory 70

Chapter 18 - TAKING THE EASY WAY: The Great Divide 324

Chapter 19 - FIGHT YOUR OWN WARS: Who Will Watch the Watchers? 375

Chapter 20 - NOT-SO-FREE-FIRE ZONE: One Arrow 378

Chapter 21 - HIRING OUT HOME DEFENSE: We Are Here to Help You... 425

Chapter 22 - BLIND OBEDIENCE: Another Time 771

Chapter 23 - BAD PRIORITY: Family over Future 1001

Chapter 24 - FOOLISH PROMISE: Godwinson’s Offer 1050

Chapter 25 - RUSH INTO BATTLE: In a Hurry to Lose 1066

Chapter 26 - SELF-INTEREST: King, Not Country 1086

Chapter 27 - SHORTSIGHTED: Constantinople and Bust: The Fourth Crusade 1204

Chapter 28 - PRIDE: Baiting the Barbarians 1300

Chapter 29 - SUPERSTITION: The Black Death and the Revenge of the Cats 1348

Chapter 30 - STUBBORN PRIDE: The Same Old Way 1415

Chapter 31 - FEAR OF SUCCESS: China Withdraws 1421

Chapter 32 - FALSE SAVINGS: Point-Blank 1452

Chapter 33 - SOME MISTAKES HAVE TURNED OUT WELL: A Math Error 1492

Chapter 34 - OFF COURSE: Oh Yeah, and a New Continent 1500

Chapter 35 - BROKE THE RULES ONCE TOO OFTEN: Dispensing with a Nation 1503

Chapter 36 - SUPERSTITION: Gods and Gold 1521

Chapter 37 - JUST INCREDIBLY BAD JUDGMENT: A Turn for the Worse 1588

Chapter 38 - DEAD-END SCIENCE: Phlogiston 1694

Chapter 39 - ALL COURAGE AND NO PLAN: Culloden 1746

Chapter 40 - POOR PRIORITIES: Party Time 1776

Chapter 41 - FINANCED HIS OWN WORST NIGHTMARE: Did unto Others 1776

Chapter 42 - DESTROYING THE ENVIRONMENT: Breeding Like a Rabbit 1788

Chapter 43 - IMPATIENCE: With a Dash of Indecision 1798

Chapter 44 - TUNNEL VISION: A Battle of Three Emperors 1805

Chapter 45 and 46 - NOT LEARNING FROM HISTORY: Two Centuries and Two Mistakes 1812 AND 1941

Chapter 47 - EGO OVER SURVIVAL: A Leipzig of Faith 1813

Chapter 48 - PUTTING THE WRONG MAN IN THE WRONG PLACE: Command Decision 1815

Chapter 49 - INVITING IN THE ANGLOS: Welcome to Texas 1821

Chapter 50 - DO NOTHING: Executive Inaction Dooms the United States 1850

Chapter 51 - STUBBORN: The Man Who Prolonged the Civil War 1861

Chapter 52 - TECH FAILURE AND PANIC: Fear of the Unknown 1863

Chapter 53 - GETTING CARRIED AWAY COSTS THE WAR: A Ride Too Far 1863

Chapter 54 - OVERCONFIDENCE: The Last Measure 1863

Chapter 55 - RACIAL BIGOTRY: Last Chance Lost 1864

Chapter 56 - AIDING THE ENEMY: The Ultimate Weed 1876

Chapter 57 - EVERYONE LOSES: Little Big Horn 1877

Chapter 58 - ONE WRONG TURN: How to Start a War 1914

Chapter 59 - TOO SUCCESSFUL A DEVIOUS PLAN: The Enemy of My Enemy 1917

Chapter 60 - THINKING SHORT TERM: A Fine Crop of Dust 1917

Chapter 61 - RIGHTEOUSNESS OVER REALITY: Prohibition: The Noble Experiment? 1917

Chapter 62 - MEANINGLESS GESTURE: When the United States Invaded Russia 1918

Chapter 63 - POLITICAL SCIENCE: Lamarckism 1920

Chapter 64 - AIDING THE ENEMY: Irony 1926

Chapter 65 - A SLOB SAVES LIVES: Mold 1928

Chapter 66 - DOING NOTHING: Herbert Hoover and the Great Depression 1929

Chapter 67 - BAD BUSINESS: Smoot-Hawley 1930

Chapter 68 - TASTY MISTAKE: A Failed Recipe 1930

Chapter 69 - FAILURE TO ACT: The Schwarze Kapelle 1938

Chapter 70 - DEALING WITH THE DEVIL: Green Light 1939

Chapter 71 - HALFWAY RIGHT: Totally Wrong 1939

Chapter 72 - STOPPING SHORT OF VICTORY: Miracle by Mistake 1940

Chapter 73 - RENAISSANCE MAN: Whom Do You Trust? 1940

Chapter 74 - BLINDED BY REVENGE: A Jettisoned Victory 1940

Chapter 75 - NOT PREPARED: Left out in the Cold 1941

Chapter 76 - IGNORING A WARNING: Intelligence Failure 1941

Chapter 77 - SELF-DEFEATING VICTORY: Pearl Harbor Redux 1941

Chapter 78 - SHORT-RANGE THINKING: Double Betrayal 1941

Chapter 79 - NOT LEARNING FROM HISTORY: Full Speed Alone 1941

Chapter 80 - OBEYING ORDERS TO A FAULT: He Who Hesitated 1942

Chapter 81 - NO RETREAT: The Stalingrad Disaster 1943

Chapter 82 - TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE: The Salient Question 1943

Chapter 83 - OPINION OVER REALITY: Asleep at the Switch 1944

Chapter 84 - THE HIGH PRICE OF RACISM: Liberators Lost 1933-1945

Chapter 85 - STUCK TO A BAD BARGAIN: Stopping at the Elbe 1945

Chapter 86 - MISQUOTED: What Sphere of Influence? 1950

Chapter 87 - EGO OVER WISDOM: MacArthur and the Chinese 1950

Chapter 88 - DIRTY TRICK: Staying Clean 1953

Chapter 89 - MYTH OF THE DECISIVE BATTLE: Cards, Spades, and the High Ground 1953

Chapter 90 - MARKETING DISASTER: The Ford Edsel 1957

Chapter 91 - INDECISIVE LEADERSHIP: Bay of Pigs 1961

Chapter 92 - PUT UP WITH THIS MISTAKE: Sticky Problem 1968

Chapter 93 - UNNEEDED RISK: Watergate 1973

Chapter 94 - INCOMPLETE RESEARCH: Marketing Madness? 1985

Chapter 95 - OPEN SAYS A ME: A Real Press Release 1989

Chapter 96 - UNDERESTIMATING EVIL: The Price of Oil: Invasion of Kuwait 1990

Chapter 97 - STOPPING SHORT: Saddam Stays 1991

Chapter 98 - BELIEVING THE WRONG PEOPLE: The Hunt for Weapons of Mass Destruction 2002

Chapter 99 - DESIGNED TO FAIL: Floodgate 2005

Chapter 100 - THOSE WHO DO NOT STUDY HISTORY: Are Doomed to Repeat the Mistakes of the Past 2008