For All Nails
A continuation (and clarification) of Robert Sobel's excellent For
Want of a Nail timeline.
For those of you who are impatient and wish to get to the newsgroup posts,
press here for the index by date of posting or
press here for the index based on chronology.
In 1974 history professor Robert Sobel published an excruciatingly detailed
history book documenting an alternate history of the two nations that
share the North American continent: The Confederation of North America (CNA),
and the United States of Mexico (USM). Click
here for a brief chronology of events. Sobel's point of departure (or
POD) from actual history was a Battle of Saratoga that saw General
Burgoyne and his British troops defeat the colonials under General Gates. The
American Revolution, or as this timeline views it, the War of the Rebellion,
saw the defeated colonials either hanged, imprisoned, or go on a self-imposed
westward exile. Those exiles headed to what is in our timeline (OTL)
Texas. These exiles eventually joined with Spanish colonists to form the
United States of Mexico. The Tories eventually spun the colonies into what
became the Confederation of North America. Sobel's book covers the history
of these two nations until the early 1970s.
For All Nails is a large set of posts to the USENET newsgroup soc.history.what-if. The
original poster, Noel Maurer, picked the name because he suspected that the
world Sobel has postulated might head toward a disastrous end, not unlike
President Chester A. Arthur's (no, not the real former president) For All
Time timeline. From Noel's original post:
Several authors have taken up Noel's challenge. What is documented here is
the results of those authors.
For All Nails (with apologies to Chet) is a continuation
of For Want of A Nail, by Robert Sobel. There was talk
about it on another thread. I decided to go ahead.
I intend to take this through the year 2001. And, as you
can imagine from the title, I don't expect things to turn
out particularly well. It won't come close to Chet's
masterpiece for pain, but Sobel didn't leave me with
much reason to hope for a happy future.
But you can try to rescue, or destroy, the FaN.
The ground rules are as follows. The Sobel book is the
"bible," but with qualifications: it was written by a
biased historian based in Taipei. Therefore, some of
its interpretations may be incorrect, even if the facts
are not in dispute. If my portrayal of the Mercator
dictatorship, to give one of what will be many examples,
differs from the one in the book you now know why.
All I can say is that when I depart from Sobel's inter-
pretation it will be because I find his version consummately
implausible, not because I'm exercising dramatic license.
The Mercator dictatorship is, again, a good example. So
is Kramer Associates. You'll never see me openly contra-
dicting Sobel ... but the feel may be very different.
When Sobel said nothing, anything goes.
Anyone can post anything, but with two stipulations.
One, they must be either in the FaT-style ("Maurice
Henderson is not a happy man ... the People's Republic
of Rmo Negro is not a happy place ...") or personal
anecdotes. Feel free to write about the characters
I've introduced. Two, the chronological gap between
entries may not be more than eighteen months. So you
can't leap too far ahead.
I'll be going ahead with this even if there are no
additions. I promise to take discussions into account.
The other rule is that I am changing the names and
geography of the Mexican "states." They make no sense,
and sticking to them feels like screeching chalk.
All the best,
Let's meet the authors of this timeline.
Some general Alternate History terms
When discussing alternate history, several acronyms and other terms pop up.
It helps to know some of these when reading For All Nails.
Some For Want of a Nail/For All Nails terms
As with any alternate history, words develop differently when the history and
culture has been altered by the POD. Many of these appear in For Want of
a Nail, but some have been introduced as part of For All Nails
Some For All Nails supplemental material
Maps (NOTE: All maps are JPEGs of less-than-70kbytes.)
For All Nails posts