The Minds Behind WHO WINS? Debate Three Hypothetical Historical Matchups

Who Wins? is all about making history fun through hysterical historical hypotheticals. With more 100,000 possible matchups, there’s plenty to debate. Author Clay Swartz and illustrator Tom Booth took some time to debate three of their favorite possibilities.

Who Wins as a Member of The Avengers:

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Theodore Roosevelt or Muhammad Ali?

Clay: The real question for me is: “How do I want to approach battle?” If I want a pure fighter, I’d pick Ali. But, The Avengers already have clobberers galore in Hulk and Thor. So, I want a bonafide commander-in-chief-type. Give me Roosevelt, one of the best, bravest, most inspirational leaders in American history.

Tom: Sure, Roosevelt is considered one of our nation’s greatest leaders, but Ali wasn’t just the greatest boxer of all time, he was also a strategist. When he utilized the rope-a-dope to beat George Foreman, Ali demonstrated a natural talent for not just out-boxing his opponent, but also outwitting him. When it comes to brain and brawn, Ali is unmatched, making him an invaluable combatant–especially if he’s on your team.

Who Wins Sneaking into Area 51:

harriet tubman       sacagawea
Harriet Tubman or Sacagawea?

This competition takes sneakiness, smarts, and a touch of deviousness. These women have all three. But for me, Tubman is the best choice in this competition. During her time working to free more than 300 slaves on the Underground Railroad, she was constantly having to sneak around and even had to wear disguises to avoid capture.

Tom: Despite Harriet Tubman’s numerous accomplishments, Sacagawea deserves the victory in this bout for her uncanny ability to navigate the treacherous terrains of the Rocky Mountains. During the expedition, she was able to find edible plants and recover cargo from a capsized boat, all while carrying her newborn child, making her a remarkably savvy wayfarer.

Who Wins The Hunger Games:

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Ernest Hemingway or Joan of Arc?

Clay: In The Hunger Games, winning isn’t always about being a skilled warrior. If it was, Joan of Arc would be my pick. But to win the Games, you need an abundance of skills. And Hemingway was a regular Renaissance man. He was a survivor! The guy survived diabetes, car wrecks, plane crashes, bullet wounds, hepatitis, a crushed vertebra, anthrax, pneumonia, skin cancer, and malaria.

Tom: Joan of Arc is the ultimate underdog. A French country maid turned saint, Joan of Arc managed to inspire all of France during the darkest hour of the Hundred Years’ War to drive out the overwhelming English forces. And that was just one of many victories. Regardless of who she’s facing in The Hunger Games, Joan of Arc will find a way to win.


Now it’s your turn. Who wins in your book?

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