Hanson, Victor Davis. "Lew Wallace and the Ghosts of the Shunpike"
Divergence: 1862 CE
What if: Union General Lew Wallace had not taken the Shunpike Road to Shiloh and instead arrived at the battlefield on the first day.
Summary: Essay which argues that the Wallace's attempts to overcome his near disgrace at Shiloh gave his later blockbuster novel Ben-Hur much of its energy. Briefly speculates that if he had correctly interpreted Grant's orders, the book would have been no better than any of his other forgotten works, and he might never become an author.
Published: In What Ifs? of American History: Eminent Historians Imagine What Might Have Might Have Been (ed. Robert Cowley), q.v.