Quantifying Counterfactual Military History

Brennen Fagan, Ian Horwood, Niall MacKay, Christopher Price, A. Jamie Wood

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Forces shaping human history are complex, but the course of history is undeniably changed on many occasions by conscious acts. These may be premeditated or responsive, calmly calculated or performed under great pressure. They may also be successful or catastrophic, but how are historians to make such judgements and appeal to evidence in support of their conclusions? Further, and crucially, how exactly are we to distinguish probable unrealized alternatives from improbable ones? This book describes some of the modern statistical techniques that can begin to answer this question, as well as some of the difficulties in doing so. Using simple, wellquantified cases drawn from military history, we claim that statistics can now help us to navigate the near-truths, the envelope around the events with which any meaningful historical analysis must deal, and to quantify the basis of such analysis. Quantifying Counterfactual Military History is intended for a general audience who are interested in learning more about statistical methods both in military history and for wider applications.

Key Features:

This book demonstrates how modern statistical techniques can measure the impact of counterfactual decisions.
It examines the importance of counterfactual reasoning for both modern scholars and historical actors.
It combines historical narrative, mathematical precision and data to create a straightforward presentation of both factual and counterfactual military history.
It provides an original contribution to the debate over the validity and rigour of works of counterfactual history.
It is written in a manner accessible to readers who have no formal training in History or Statistics.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherChapman and Hall/CRCPress
Number of pages238
ISBN (Electronic)9780429488405
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sept 2023

Publication series

NameASA-CRC Series on Statistical Reasoning in Science and Society
PublisherTaylor and Francis Group

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