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An acclaimed historian and "New York Times"-bestselling author explores the many ways in which history affects everyone. Full of insights gleaned from studies of numerous historical events, "Dangerous Game" serves as a plea to treat history with care.
Stephen Leacock's satiric masterpiece Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town captures "the Empire forever" mentality that marked Anglo-Canadian life in the early decades of the twentieth century. Historian Margaret Macmillan--whose books Women of the Raj and Paris 1919 cast fresh light on the colonial legacy--has great affection for Leacock's gentle wit and sharp-eyed insight. The renowned historian examines Leacock's life as a poor but ambitious student who rose to become an economist, celebrated academic, and, most importantly, the beloved humorist who taught Canadians to laugh at themselves.
With the publication of her landmark bestseller Paris 1919, Margaret MacMillan was praised as "a superb writer who can bring history to life" (The Philadelphia Inquirer). Now she brings her extraordinary gifts to one of the most important subjects today--the relationship between the United States and China--and one of the most significant moments in modern history.
Winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize Winner of the PEN Hessell Tiltman Prize Winner of the Duff Cooper Prize Between January and July 1919, after "the war to end all wars," men and women from around the world converged on Paris to shape the peace. Center stage, for the first time in history, was an American president, Woodrow Wilson, who with his Fourteen Points seemed to promise to so many people the fulfillment of their dreams. Stern, intransigent, impatient when it came to security concerns and wildly idealistic in his dream of a League of Nations that would resolve all future conflict peacefully, Wilson is only one of the larger-than-life characters who fill the pages of this extraordinary book. David Lloyd George, the gregarious and wily British prime minister, brought Winston Churchill and John Maynard Keynes. Lawrence of Arabia joined the Arab delegation. Ho Chi Minh, a kitchen assistant at the Ritz, submitted a petition for an independent Vietnam. For six months, Paris was effectively the center of the world as the peacemakers carved up bankrupt empires and created new countries. This book brings to life the personalities, ideals, and prejudices of the men who shaped the settlement. They pushed Russia to the sidelines, alienated China, and dismissed the Arabs. They struggled with the problems of Kosovo, of the Kurds, and of a homeland for the Jews. The peacemakers, so it has been said, failed dismally; above all they failed to prevent another war. Margaret MacMillan argues that they have unfairly been made the scapegoats for the mistakes of those who came later. She refutes received ideas about the path from Versailles to World War II and debunks the widely accepted notion that reparations imposed on the Germans were in large part responsible for the Second World War. A landmark work of narrative history,Paris 1919is the first full-scale treatment of the Peace Conference in more than twenty-five years. It offers a scintillating view of those dramatic and fateful days when much of the modern world was sketched out, when countries were created--Iraq, Yugoslavia, Israel--whose troubles haunt us still. From the Hardcover edition.
As the 100th anniversary of World War I approaches, historian Margaret MacMillan compares current global tensions--rising nationalism, globalization's economic pressures, sectarian strife, and the United States' fading role as the world's pre-eminent superpower--to the period preceding the Great War. In illuminating the years before 1914, MacMillan shows the many parallels between then and now, telling an urgent story for our time. THE BROOKINGS ESSAY: In the spirit of its commitment to high-quality, independent research, the Brookings Institution has commissioned works on major topics of public policy by distinguished authors, including Brookings scholars. The Brookings Essay is a multi-platform product aimed to engage readers in open dialogue and debate. The views expressed, however, are solely those of the author.
In 1912, Stephen Leacock's comic masterpiece Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town made him an international star overnight. He was published in magazines and newspapers across Canada and in New York and London. Charlie Chaplin asked him for a screenplay; a young F. Scott Fitzgerald expressed his admiration. Eminent historian Margaret MacMillan argues that, while much of what Leacock satirized in small-town Canada has disappeared, his humour endures. His skewering of pretension and his self-deprecating wit entertained thousands during his heyday, even as it defined a quintessentially Canadian stance. But Leacock, MacMillan points out, was also a public intellectual, engaged with questions about government, war, and a just society. Writing with her usual brio, MacMillan has created a wonderfully insightful and affectionate portrait of a man who mattered.
From the bestselling and award-winning author of Paris 1919 comes a masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, a fascinating portrait of Europe from 1900 up to the outbreak of World War I. The century since the end of the Napoleonic wars had been the most peaceful era Europe had known since the fall of the Roman Empire. In the first years of the twentieth century, Europe believed it was marching to a golden, happy, and prosperous future. But instead, complex personalities and rivalries, colonialism and ethnic nationalisms, and shifting alliances helped to bring about the failure of the long peace and the outbreak of a war that transformed Europe and the world. The War That Ended Peace brings vividly to life the military leaders, politicians, diplomats, bankers, and the extended, interrelated family of crowned heads across Europe who failed to stop the descent into war: in Germany, the mercurial Kaiser Wilhelm II and the chief of the German general staff, Von Moltke the Younger; in Austria-Hungary, Emperor Franz Joseph, a man who tried, through sheer hard work, to stave off the coming chaos in his empire; in Russia, Tsar Nicholas II and his wife; in Britain, King Edward VII, Prime Minister Herbert Asquith, and British admiral Jacky Fisher, the fierce advocate of naval reform who entered into the arms race with Germany that pushed the continent toward confrontation on land and sea. There are the would-be peacemakers as well, among them prophets of the horrors of future wars whose warnings went unheeded: Alfred Nobel, who donated his fortune to the cause of international understanding, and Bertha von Suttner, a writer and activist who was the first woman awarded Nobel's new Peace Prize. Here too we meet the urbane and cosmopolitan Count Harry Kessler, who noticed many of the early signs that something was stirring in Europe; the young Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty and a rising figure in British politics; Madame Caillaux, who shot a man who might have been a force for peace; and more. With indelible portraits, MacMillan shows how the fateful decisions of a few powerful people changed the course of history. Taut, suspenseful, and impossible to put down, The War That Ended Peace is also a wise cautionary reminder of how wars happen in spite of the near-universal desire to keep the peace. Destined to become a classic in the tradition of Barbara Tuchman's The Guns of August, The War That Ended Peace enriches our understanding of one of the defining periods and events of the twentieth century. Advance praise for The War That Ended Peace "[A] richly textured narrative about World War I . . . addressing the war's build-up . . . MacMillan tells this familiar story with panache. A major contribution, however, is her presentation of its subtext, as Europe's claims to be the world's most advanced civilization 'were being challenged from without and undermined from within.' . . . MacMillan eloquently shows that 'turning out the lights' was not inevitable, but a consequence of years of decisions and reactions: a slow-motion train wreck few wanted but none could avoid."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)"The War That Ended Peace tells the story of how intelligent, well-meaning leaders guided their nations into catastrophe. These epic events, brilliantly described by one of our era's most talented historians, warn of the dangers that arise when we fail to anticipate the consequences of our actions. This is one of the finest books I have ever read on the causes of World War I."--Madeleine Albright, former secretary of state