History in For Want of a Nail

History in For Want of a Nail

"For Want of a Nail: If Burgoyne Had Won at Saratoga" is an alternate history novel by Robert Sobel that takes the form of a history of North America from 1763 to 1971. Over the course of its 441 pages, "For Want of a Nail" details the failure of the American Revolution and recounts the history of the two nations that result: the Confederation of North America and the United States of Mexico.

The North American Rebellion

"For Want of a Nail" opens at the end of the Seven Years' War in 1763, as the British government decides to impose direct taxation on its American colonies. Resistance by the American colonists throughout the 1760s gives rise to radical leaders such as Samuel Adams and Patrick Henry. The Ministry of Lord North is able to defuse the situation during the early 1770s, but in 1773 Adams destroys a cargo of tea in Boston Harbor and King George III reacts by imposing harsh restrictions on the city of Boston. Events in Boston spiral out of control until rebellion breaks out in 1775. Representatives of the American colonies meeting in Philadelphia appoint George Washington of Virginia to command the rebel armies gathering in Massachusetts. The British army is forced to withdraw from Boston, and the Continental Congress in Philadelphia declares the colonies independent in 1776.

General John Burgoyne invades New York from Canada in 1777, defeating a rebel army led by Horatio Gates and Benedict Arnold at the Battle of Saratoga and occupying Albany. Burgoyne's victory, combined with General Sir William Howe's occupation of Philadelphia, brings a moderate faction led by John Dickinson to power in the Continental Congress, and negotiations are conducted with the British to end the rebellion. An armistice is signed in 1778, and the American colonies rejoin the British Empire. The ringleaders of the rebellion, including Samuel and John Adams, Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson, are brought to London for trial and execution. Washington is sentenced to life in prison.

The First Britannic Design

In London, Lord North is able to gain passage in 1780 of the Britannic Design, a bill reorganizing the American colonies to grant the Americans greater autonomy. New England and the mid-Atlantic colonies are joined together to form the Northern Confederation (NC) while the southern colonies form the Southern Confederation (SC). The Ohio Valley is separated from Quebec to form the Confederation of Indiana, and western Quebec is also separated to form the Confederation of Manitoba. The five newly-formed confederations are loosely united into the Confederation of North America, and a capital is established at Fort Pitt, which is soon renamed Burgoyne. Meanwhile, radical colonists who refuse to submit to British rule emigrate to the Texas region of New Spain, where they organize themselves as the State of Jefferson.

in 1817. By 1819 Jackson is able to engineer the merger of Jefferson and Mexico into the United States of Mexico, and within two years he becomes President of the new nation. In addition to Jefferson, the USM includes the states of Arizona, California, Chiapas, Durango and Mexico del Norte.

The Second Britannic Design

In the early part of the 19th century, growing industrialization leads to the Northern Confederation becoming a center of commerce, while the invention of the cotton gin creates a slave-based plantation system in the Southern Confederation which is subjected to repeated slave uprisings. Quebec is wracked by a series of Francophone uprisings, and Indiana is the scene of several bloody Indian wars. In the late 1830s the SC is faced with a catastrophic fall in the price of cotton, and sees the value of its slaves drop in response. By 1841 the SC adopts a program of compensated manumission and within two years slavery is abolished. At the same time, the NC undergoes a period of violent labor unrest and near-dictatorial rule by Governor Henry Gilpin. The political leaders of the four major confederations meet in Concordia, North Carolina and Brant, Indiana in 1841 to call for a more centralized government for the CNA. The British government agrees to the convening of a Grand Council in Burgoyne to amend the Britannic Design. When the Grand Council meets in the summer of 1842, it remakes itself into a popularly elected legislative body of 150 members which elects a Governor-General to serve as chief executive. General Winfield Scott of Indiana becomes the CNA's first Governor-General under the new government in 1843, with Gilpin as his Minister of War.

In the USM, Andrew Jackson does his best to form the new nation's disparate peoples into a cohesive whole during his three six-year terms as President. He becomes the leader of a political party called the Continentalists, while his political opponents form the Liberty Party. He aligns the USM with France, and is able to stabilize the country's finances after gold is discovered in California. Jackson is finally succeeded as President in 1839 by Liberty Party candidate Miguel Huddleston, a Hispanicized Jeffersonian, and Huddleston is succeeded six years later by another Continentalist, a native Hispanic named Pedro Hermión. Shortly after Hermión's inauguration in 1845, a conflict between Mexican and North American settlers breaks out in the Rocky Mountains, leading to war between the two nations.

The Rocky Mountain War

Although Sobel describes Hermión as aggressive and bellicose, the strategy he follows in the war is a purely defensive one. All the action in the war consists of North American incursions into Mexican territory. In March 1846 Generals Philip Lodge of the NC and Harry Chapin of Indiana cross into the Mexican state of Mexico del Norte, and Colonel Martin Washington of the SC crosses the Mississippi River into Jefferson, while General Herbert Williamhouse makes an amphibious landing at the Mexican port of Tampico in July and advances on Mexico City. Washington's men are driven back over the Mississippi after two weeks of fighting. In August the other two North American armies are turned back, with Lodge losing 10,000 men to an army of Cheyennes, while Williamhouse is driven back to Tampico by Major Michael Doheny. A second North American invasion of Mexico del Norte in 1847 is also driven off, and Williamhouse is forced to pull out of Tampico in March 1848.

An attempt by War Minister Gilpin to institute a draft in 1848 is met by strikes and anti-draft riots in the NC, and Gilpin is forced to commit significant numbers of the CNA's armed forces to maintain control there and in Quebec. Gilpin is unsatisfied with Governor-General Scott's leadership, and in April 1849 he begins intriguing against Scott, finally forcing Scott to resign the following month, and taking his place as Governor-General. Also in 1849, Gilpin sends an army under General David Homer west across the Rocky Mountains in an attempt to reach San Francisco. After wintering in Arizona, Homer crosses the Sierra Nevadas in 1850, but in July is defeated in battle by General Franco Hernandez's Californians and is forced to turn back. A second Mexican army led by Doheny comes upon Homer from the east, while a second North American army under General FitzJohn Smithers is hastily dispatched by Gilpin. The four armies remain locked in battle in the Sierra Nevadas through the winter of 1850-51, while suffering fearsome losses. The North Americans ultimately lose 113,000 out of 140,000 men, while the Mexicans lose 66,000 out of 97,000.

President Hermión is assassinated while campaigning for re-election in June 1851, and is succeeded by Secretary of State Raphael Blaine. In August Blaine is defeated by Assemblyman Hector Niles of California. Niles continues Hermión's defensive strategy, turning back a series of new offensives by Gilpin in 1851 and 1852. By the time elections are held in the CNA for the Grand Council in February 1853, Gilpin is in disgrace. Gilpin's party, the Liberals, nominate Councilman Bruce Harrison of the NC for Governor-General, while the opposition Conservatives nominate Councilman William Johnson of Manitoba. The Conservatives win 91 Grand Council seats to the Liberals' 59, and Johnson takes power as Governor-General on 16 February.

Johnson and Niles agree to a battlefield truce in August while teams of negotiators from both nations meet in The Hague. An arbitration panel consisting of representatives from the Germanic Confederation, the Netherlands and Spain begins meeting in November, and issues a final report on 15 June 1854. The report recommends that the USM cede a small portion of Mexico del Norte to the CNA, and that the CNA pay the USM NA£2,500,000 in indemnities. The two nations accept the panel's findings, and a formal peace treaty is signed on 7 August 1855.

The Rise of Kramer Associates and the People’s Coalition

The CNA emerges from the Rocky Mountain War as an economic powerhouse, with economic growth fueled by British investment and population growth propelled by European immigration. The Confederations of Manitoba and Vandalia fill with settlers, and in 1879 Vandalia is divided into northern and southern sections (the population of the latter being mostly freed slaves). Socially, though, the country suffers from the disruption of the war and rapid population growth, as well as endemic political corruption. Poverty and overcrowding result in the rise of criminal gangs in the growing cities.

As the Liberals and Conservatives grow identically feckless and corrupt, North Americans dissatisfied with the status quo form a third party, the People’s Coalition (PC), in 1869. By the elections of 1873 the PC is able to run candidates for all 150 Grand Council seats. The PC gains a majority in the legislatures of New Hampshire, Virginia and North Carolina, and elects ten members to the Grand Council. Five years later, despite the use of intimidation and violence by members of the older parties, the PC is able to increase its delegation in the Grand Council to 39. In 1883 the number rises further to 45, and finally in 1888 the PC gains a plurality of 73 seats, resulting in the election of PC leader Ezra Gallivan of Michigan City as Governor-General. The PC’s rise is mirrored by the fall of the Conservatives, who see their membership in the Grand Council fall during this period from 77 to 49 to 23 to 9.

In the USM relief at the end of the Rocky Mountain War gradually gives way to dissatisfaction with the outcome. President Hector Niles’ Liberty Party is denounced by the rival Continentalist Party for its “betrayal of the memory of Pedro Hermión”. In the elections of 1857 Niles is defeated by Arizona’s Continentalist Governor Arthur Conroy. Following his re-election in 1863, Conroy proposes amending the Mexican Constitution to allow direct election of Senators and the President, and the extension of the franchise to all free Mexicans. Although Conroy’s proposals are opposed by some of his fellow Continentalists, he is able to gain passage of them with help from the Libertarians.

Meanwhile, in San Francisco, a wealthy businessman named Bernard Kramer forms a consortium called Kramer Associates in 1865 to build a canal linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. After considering canals through Chiapas and Panama, Kramer decides to build the canal through the Nicaraguan region of the Central American republic of Guatemala. Opposed to Conroy's reforms, at the 1869 Continentalist Party caucus, Kramer arranges for his own Senator, Omar Kinkaid, to receive the presidential nomination. Kinkaid wins the election, and as President begins negotiations with Guatemala for rights to a canal. When word comes that Guatemalan dictator Miguel Rubio plans to grant access to a German consortium, Kramer arranges for Rubio to be overthrown on 9 March 1870. Guatemala's new Kramer-backed ruler signs over rights to a canal the following month, and work on the canal begins quickly. The canal is finally completed in 1878, and is later named after Kinkaid.

The Bloody Eighties

Kinkaid is renominated by the Continentalists in 1875 and goes on to win a second term. The Libertarian Party suffers a split, as followers of Senator Carlos Conceptión break away to form the Workers' Coalition. Following the election, Conceptión and his followers, calling themselves the Moralistas, begin a guerrilla campaign to overthrow the government. Like Conroy before him, Kinkaid embraces a reform program, and overcomes opposition within his own party by allying himself with the Libertarians. However, Kinkaid is killed in a bombing attack on 7 December 1879, and the Senate selects Senator George Vining of Jefferson to replace him. Vining blames his predecessor's death on the Moralistas, and creates a secret police force called the Constabulary to hunt them down. He appoints Pedro Hermión's son Benito to the post of Commandant of the Constabulary.

In Europe, a war between France and the Germanic Confederation ends in a German victory. Rioters in Paris murder the French royal family on 25 December 1879, and German troops occupy the French capital. The German soldiers mutiny, and march back to Germany, spreading insurrection there. The insurrection spreads to Austria and the Italian kingdoms, and from there to the rest of Europe. France becomes a battleground between republicans and monarchists. Millions of Europeans flee the chaos, settling in North America, Africa and Australia.

In the USM, Constabulary agents raid the Workers' Coalition party convention on 15 July 1881, killing 23 delegates and injuring 65. This sparks a general uprising, prompting Vining to place the USM under martial law. Vining suffers a fatal heart attack on 12 September, and his cabinet postpones the upcoming elections and appoints Benito Hermión to the position of "Chief of State". When leading members of the Libertarian Party oppose the cabinet's decisions, they are arrested or killed. Kramer's successor at KA, Diego Cortez y Catalán, supports Hermión's dictatorship. Hermión denounces the French revolutionary government, confiscates the property of French nationals in Mexico, and in 1882 repudiates the USM's debt to France. Hermión allies the USM with the Germanic Confederation in 1886, and within months invades and conquers Guatemala. Four years later, Hermión also invades and conquers the South American nation of New Granada, making his brother Victoriano its new President.

Gallivan and Hermión

Governor-General Ezra Gallivan must walk a tightrope -- at any time, the opposition parties in the Grand Council can unite to pass a no-confidence motion. If they do, though, Gallivan can call a special election that might result in an outright majority for the PC. Gallivan must also deal with the radical wing of his own party, led by Councilman Thomas Kronmiller of Indiana. Gallivan reverses his predecessor's emphasis on foreign affairs, loosening ties with Great Britain and adopting a policy of benign neglect towards the Hermión regime in the USM. He is able to resolve the longstanding issue of Quebecois separatism by sponsoring a plebiscite in Quebec, offering that Confederation the choices of remaining in the CNA, devolving to an autonomous associated status, or outright independence. On 6 July 1889 the Quebecois choose associated status over independence or the status quo by 54% to 41% to 5%. In addition to defense spending cuts and tax cuts, Gallivan encourages the National Financial Administration to offer low-interest loans to new businesses. Gallivan's policies are sufficiently successful and popular to win the PC an outright majority of 98 seats in the 1893 Grand Council elections. Gallivan's isolationist foreign policy becomes increasingly unpopular, though; both the Liberals and the Kronmiller wing of the PC continue to harp on the threat posed by Hermión.

In the USM, Kramer Associates expands its operations beyond Mexico. It finances railroads in Manchuria and the Argentine, a copper mine in the Congo, and a steel mill in Belgium. When KA's interests in the Hawaiian Islands are threatened by local rulers in 1892, Hermión obligingly conquers and annexes them. When KA's gold mines in Russian Alaska are expropriated by the Russian government in 1897, war erupts between Russia and the USM the next year. By October 1898, the USM has conquered Alaska. Although President Cortez of KA is satisfied with this result, Hermión is not; in the summer of 1899, Mexican troops invade Siberia and set up a puppet regime there. Within months, revolution breaks out in Saint Petersburg and the Russian monarchy is overthrown. Over the next five years, the Russian Empire disintegrates. Hermión, meanwhile, declares himself Emperor of Mexico on 2 April 1901.

In the CNA, Hermión's growing list of conquests creates alarm. In the elections of 1898 the Liberals nominate an expansionist, Governor Douglas Sizer of Manitoba. Although the PC wins 91 seats in the Grand Council, 20 members of the Council's PC caucus vote for Kronmiller for Governor-General. Following the Mexican occupation of Alaska, a wave of militarism sweeps the CNA. On 10 January 1899, Sizer calls for Gallivan's resignation. Matters come to a head after the Mexican invasion of Siberia. On 10 July Councilman Fritz Stark of the SC claims to have proof that Gallivan is secretly working for Kramer Associates. Riots break out across the CNA, and assassination attempts are made on at least 16 of Gallivan's supporters in the Grand Council, one of which succeeds. Gallivan meets with Stark on 19 July and insists that Stark's documents are forgeries. A special committee of the Grand Council investigates, and confirms that the Stark papers are forgeries. Stark recants on 6 August and commits suicide the next day, but the disturbances continue, and Gallivan finally resigns on 24 July 1901.

In the USM, Hermión's new Imperial pretensions provoke widespread resistance. People who had gone along with his regime as the only alternative to chaos, including Cortez of Kramer Associates, now find themselves fearing that the cure may be worse than the disease. Throughout the summer of 1901 the opposition to Hermión grows, and a plot is hatched to overthrow him. Members of the KA security police infiltrate the recently-renamed Imperial Palace on 15 October and take up positions outside Hermión's window. Hermión flees the palace disguised as a servant and makes his way to Tampico, where he boards ship for Spain and flees the country.

The Years of the Pygmies

Following Ezra Gallivan's resignation, the Grand Council's PC caucus chooses Councilman Clifton Burgen of Northern Vandalia to succeed him. With Hermión's ouster, the Mexican threat recedes, and so does the panic that has gripped the CNA. Within a year of Gallivan's resignation, public opinion in the CNA turns around, and he is seen as the victim of the country's irrational fears. Although he does not wish to resume the post of Governor-General, Gallivan is able to arrange for the nomination of his ally Councilman Christopher Hemingway of the NC in 1903. The PC wins 83 seats in the Grand Council, and Hemingway becomes Governor-General.

In the USM, following Hermión's ouster, Kramer Guard Commandant Martin Cole, who controls the Imperial Palace, proclaims himself head of a provisional government and announces the restoration of the pre-Hermión Constitution. On 15 November Cole grants amnesty to all Mexican political exiles and announces that elections will be held the following June. Of the 14 Presidential candidates, none receive more than 15% of the vote, and a runoff election is held between the top three candidates. An exiled Continentalist Senator from Durango, Anthony Flores, wins the Presidency with a plurality of 45%. Flores' rule is uneventful, and he wins re-election in 1908 as head of the new United Mexican Party.

Governor-General Hemingway's term in office is equally uneventful. He continues Gallivan's isolationist foreign policy, declining membership in the United British Commonwealth when it is formed in 1906, but welcoming King Edward VII when he tours the CNA the following year. Hemingway declines to run for re-election in 1908; he is succeeded by Indiana Councilman Albert Merriman, another Gallivan protégé.

War and Manumission

President Flores chooses to retire in 1914, and his chosen successor, Secretary of State Victoriano Consalus defeats the Libertarian candidate, Senator Albert Ullman of California. Within months of his election, Consalus faces a major challenge when the bellicose President of France, Henri Fanchon, declares war on the USM. French forces land in Tampico on 28 June, and soon advance on Mexico City. They are defeated by General Emiliano Calles at the Battle of Chapultapec on 28 August, and surrender the next morning. Calles places the French garrison at Tampico under siege, and it surrenders on 29 September. President Fanchon sues for peace on 3 October, and a truce is signed on 10 October.

The war brings lasting trouble for the USM when slaves liberated by French troops are arrested and tried for treason. The slaves trials provoke international outrage, especially within the CNA, where Southern Vandalian Governor Howard Washburne calls for the slaves to be released and for the abolition of slavery in the USM. 34 members of the Grand Council announce their support for Washburne, who forms an organization called Friends of Black Mexico (FBM) to press the issue. On 4 January 1916, the day before a verdict will be announced on the imprisoned slaves, riots break out in Mexico City, and a mob backed by the FBM storms the prison where the slaves are being held and frees them.

When the North American government cracks down on the FBM, clashes break out across the CNA between the organization's supporters and opponents. In the USM, internal passports and curfews are established to prevent a feared general slave uprising, and growing violence is directed at abolitionists. The dilemma continues to hang fire until 1920, when General Calles runs for President as a Libertarian and defeats Consalus. Within weeks of his inauguration, Calles calls for the abolition of slavery. Proslavery politicians, reluctant to cross the popular leader, agree to passage of a manumission act by a voice vote. On 14 May the act passes, and is signed into law by Calles on the 21st, abolishing slavery in the USM.

Popular opposition to abolition continues, spearheaded by Assemblyman Pedro Fuentes of Chiapas. Violence is directed against the freedmen, and against antislavery politicians. Manumission Bureaus are burned down, and a mob forms in Mexico City on 22 September to prevent any slaves from being freed. President Calles himself, accompanied by a newly freed slave, faces down the mob, and the antimanumission movement quickly dies out.


With slavery abolished in the USM in 1920, Washburne seeks to transform the FBM into a broader reform movement aimed at ending racial discrimination in the CNA. He renames his organization the League for Brotherhood. The League attracts millions of middle-class whites, but they prove more interested in rejecting modern society than in equalizing it. After a summer of riots and demonstrations in 1922, Owen Galloway, President of North American Motors (and a descendant of Joseph Galloway), announces a plan to subsidize emigration within and from the CNA. Over the next seven years, nearly half a million North Americans move overseas, while another 1.4 million relocate within the country.

President Calles in the USM follows his abolition of slavery by seeking in 1922 to regularize the status of the areas conquered by Hermión. He proposes that Siberia, Alaska, Hawaii, Guatemala and New Granada each hold plebiscites to choose whether they should gain statehood in the USM or seek full independence. The leaders of Siberia and New Granada reject the idea, while the governments of the other three states accept. In 1923 Alaska and Hawaii vote for statehood, while Guatemala votes for independence. Calles is unable to carry out any further reforms, and when he runs for re-election in 1926 he is defeated by Pedro Fuentes.

in 1936. In the meantime, Fuentes runs for re-election in 1932, but is defeated by the Libertarian candidate, Senator Alvin Silva of Durango.

Councilman Henderson Dewey of Indiana brings the Liberals to power in the CNA in 1923 by championing the Galloway Plan. He quietly decentralizes political power, transferring control of the budget from Burgoyne to the confederations, and also assisting in the emigration of North Americans from the cities to the countryside. In 1928 the Liberals win 94 seats in the Grand Council, and Dewey gains a second term as Governor-General. On 10 May 1929, however, Dewey has a heart attack and dies.

The Global War

Henderson Dewey's death precipitates a constitutional crisis in the CNA. Majority leader John Jenckinson convenes a Liberal Party caucus the following morning, though a quorum is not achieved until the morning of the 12th, when 71 of the 94 Liberal Councilmen choose Minister of Home Affairs Douglas Watson as the new Governor-General. He carries out Dewey's plan to decentralize the National Financial Administration, and subsidizes roads, airlines and health care. In the elections of 1933 the Liberals win 104 seats in the Grand Council to the PC's 46, and Watson remains Governor-General.

Watson begins to abandon isolationism, embarking on a tour of Europe, and returning to warn his cabinet that a major conflict is brewing. Despite opposition from the PC and many Liberals, he pushes for an alliance with the British and an increase in military spending. Watson's measures slowly make their way through the Grand Council through 1933 and 1934 until Owen Galloway announces his opposition, at which point public opinion turns against Watson. Councilman Bruce Hogg of Northern Vandalia introduces a bill of impeachment against Watson on 10 January 1935, but Watson is able to avoid impeachment.

President Alvin Silva increases the Mexican arms budget and signs an accord with the Germanic Confederation in 1934, prompting a similar alliance between Britain and France. KA's move from San Francisco to the Philippines in 1936 causes a worldwide recession, leading to the bankruptcy of the CNA's National Financial Administration, and defusing war tensions for a time.

November 1937 sees the re-election of the imperialistic Karl Bruning in the Germanic Confederation and the combative George Bolingbroke in Great Britain, while elections in February 1938 bring about the defeat of Watson in the CNA by Hogg and the re-election of Silva in the USM. War is finally sparked by an Arab uprising in the Ottoman Empire in August 1939 in which the British side with the Turks and the Germans with the Arabs. War breaks out between Britain and the Germanic Confederation in October, and a lightning German offensive conquers France the following month and the Ottoman Empire in December. A year later, three German armies strike east from the Ottoman Empire and overrun India by December 1941.

The USM attacks Japan in January 1942 and invades China from Siberia. The Germans become bogged down in Indonesia while the Mexicans strike across the Pacific. By 1944, though, the Mexicans and Siberians are being driven out of China and the Germans face growing insurgencies in Europe. By the end of 1948 the Japanese have driven the Mexicans out of the western Pacific and overrun Siberia, while the Germans have become involved in a series of wars among the Russian successor states.

The Postwar World

Although they never become involved in the fighting, the CNA under Hogg and KA under Jackson provide arms to the British and the Japanese. The British maintain themselves on the edge of a German-dominated Europe, while the Japanese maintain a de facto truce with the USM from across the Pacific. In the USM, Silva is blamed for launching an unsuccessful war, and he loses the Presidential election of 1950 to Admiral Paul Suarez. The election is marred by political violence and electoral fraud, and a military coup led by Colonel Vincent Mercator seizes power.

Governor-General Hogg suffers a stroke and dies, and Grand Council President James Billington becomes Governor-General. Billington runs for his own term in 1953, but is defeated by Liberal Councilman Richard Mason. Mason embarks on a vast global reconstruction project, ignoring warlike moves by Mercator. Mason is re-elected in 1958, but when he runs again in 1963 he faces a faction fight with his Minister for Home Affairs, Grover Speigal, which splits the Liberal Party apart and results in a victory for the People's Coalition candidate, Perry Jay.

The detonation of an atomic bomb by Kramer Associates in June 1962 plunges the world into a nuclear arms race. The British detonate their own bomb in 1964, the Germans in 1965, and the CNA in 1966. Attempts by the USM to acquire an atomic bomb remain unsuccessful as of 1971. Perry Jay resigns as Governor-General in 1966, to be succeeded by his Minister of Finance, Carter Monaghan, who wins his own term as Governor-General in 1968 by defeating an opposition that has fractured into the Liberals and the Peace and Justice Party (PJP), with the latter winning 17 seats in the Grand Council. Vincent Mercator, after eleven years as self-proclaimed President, arranges for the election of a hand-picked figurehead in 1965, while maintaining control from behind the scenes as Secretary of War.

Fan Sites

* [http://www.kebe.com/for-all-nails/index.html "For All Nails"] "Sobel-heads" flesh out or extend the history from the book "For Want of a Nail".
* [http://www.johnreilly.info/fwoan.htm Alternative History] "Sobel, must be numbered with Tolkien among the handful of creators of a complete imaginary world."

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