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"The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914'' by Margaret MacMillan: I am only halfway through the book and I don't want to put it down, but occasionally I must if I am to earn a living. On the other hand, when I finish it, I will regret having done so because what I will really want to do is read it again for the first time."

Paul Martin, former prime minister of Canada - Bloomberg

THE 2015 CBC MASSEY LECTURES  |  “HISTORY'S PEOPLE”

History's People Book Cover

In the 2015 CBC Massey Lectures, renowned historian Margaret MacMillan explores some of the great people - good and bad, dreamers, explorers and adventurers - who have shaped their times and ours. One historian’s view of the people of the past who have intrigued, horrified or engaged her.


Some of these great figures have changed the course of history and even directed the currents of our time. Others are memorable for being risk-takers, adventurers, or observers. Margaret MacMillan looks at the concept of leadership through Bismarck and the unification of Germany; William Lyon MacKenzie King and the preservation of the Canadian Federation; Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the bringing of a unified United States into the Second World War.


Leaders can also make huge and often destructive mistakes, as in the cases of Hitler, Stalin, and Thatcher. Richard Nixon and Samuel de Champlain are examples of daring risk-takers who stubbornly went their own ways, often in defiance of their own societies. Then there are the dreamers, explorers, and adventurers, individuals like Fanny Parkes and Elizabeth Simcoe who manage to defy or ignore the constraints of their own societies. Finally, there are the observers, such as Babur, the first Mughal emperor of India, and Victor Klemperer, a Holocaust survivor, who kept the notes and diaries that bring the past to life.


History’s People is about the important and complex relationship between biography and history, individuals and their times.

Upcoming Events

FINANCIAL TIMES WEEKEND FESTIVAL

Saturday, 8th September | 5:00 pm

Kenwood House, London

Birth of the modern – the fallout of world war one

On the centenary of the end of the first world war, Michéle Barrett, Elif Shafak, Margaret McMillan in discussion with Frederick Studemann on the world born out of the conflict

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CLIVEDEN LITERARY FESTIVAL

Saturday, 29th September | 10:00 am

Berkshire, England

The Pity of War: a century on, was the Great War justified?

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ISIAH BERLIN LECTURE

Thursday, 8th November | 8:00 pm

Hampstead Synagogue, London

Professor Margaret MacMillan will be delivering the 16th Isaiah Berlin Annual Lecture:

“A Century Later: Does the Great War Matter in the Present?”

Interviews

The Guardian

"Don't ask me who started the war or I'll burst into tears," she says when we meet on the eve of her departure for Canada. I put that question aside, and instead ask what she has made so far of the commemoration. "Some of it has been good," she says. "Historians have been debating it at quite a high level. When the politicians get involved they have their own agendas, and the debate becomes caught up with what they think of Britain today.

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The Globe and Mail

The War That Ended Peace is one of five books nominated this year for the $25,000 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing, which will be awarded April 2. The Globe and Mail will feature interviews with each nominated author during the week of March 17. Read an interview with Paul Wells on figuring out what Prime Minister Stephen Harper is thinking or Charles Montgomery on how to make cities that make people happy.

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The New York Times

How could a Europe that had been so prosperous and so largely peaceful for so many years, that was basking in a glorious period of trade and technological advance, that was flourishing within a long-established global order, have been thrown — in the course of a month — into the bloodiest conflict the world had then ever seen?

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CNN | VIDEO

Historian Margaret MacMillan joins Christiane Amanpour to discuss why war is still such an integral and paradoxical part of our human existence.

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