Margaret MacMillan, the great-granddaughter of famous British statesman and Prime Minister David Lloyd George, received her Ph.D. from Oxford University. A past provost of Trinity College at the University of Toronto, MacMillan is the warden of St. Antonys College at Oxford University.
Her previous books include Women of the Raj and Canada and NATO. Published as Peacemakers in England, Paris 1919 was a bestseller chosen by Roy Jenkins as his favorite book of the year. It won the Duff Cooper Prize, the Samuel Johnson Prize for nonfiction, the Hessell-Tiltman Prize for History, a Silver Medal for the Arthur Ross Book Award of the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Governor-Generals prize for nonfiction, and it was selected by the editors of The New York Times as one of the ten best books of the year.
This biography was last updated on 04/24/2009.
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An Interview with Margaret MacMillan, about Dangerous Games: The Uses and Abuses of History
In your book, you make a compelling case for the importance of history in our daily lives. When did you realize that people made use of history as a tool?
There was no one Aha! Moment, but I really started to think about it in the 1990s when I was teaching a course on identitieswhat goes into making themand it was clear that history was a key factor. Individuals and groups told themselves stories about where they and their ancestors had come from, including, for example, the great moments in their past and their progress toward the present. The stories were not always wrong, but they often included myths or chose facts very selectively. One of the main things we looked at was nationalism and the ways in which historians had helped to create the sense of a nation that was much bigger than its individual members, which predated them and which would endure long after they were dead. At the time, we had a terrifying example of the abuse of history right in front of us in the Balkans, where Yugoslavia was falling apart and all sides were using the past to stir up their own people against the others.
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