You can preview a command from the history list without having to re-run it. Before you can do this the EDITOR and VISUAL variables must be set as they are for command line editing.
You can also list commands from the history list using the fc (fix command) command.
To... Do this emacs vi
Preview previous command in the list ^P M-k Preview next command in the list ^N M-j Preview command starting with string ^R^string M-/^string (search forward from previous command) (search backward from command 0) M-?^string Preview command containing string ^Rstring M-/string (search forward from previous command) (search backward from command 0) M-?string