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The New York Times bestselling author of Paris 1919 and Nixon and Mao reveals lessons and insights from a lifetime of writing and teaching history, about how we live our lives as individuals and nations.
Acclaimed historian and “great storyteller” (The New York Review of Books) Margaret MacMillan explores the many ways in which history—its value and dangers—affects us all. Used for the justification of religious movements and political campaigns alike, the manipulation of history is increasingly pervasive in today’s world. It is imperative that we have an understanding of the past and avoid the all-too-common traps in thinking to which many fall prey—as MacMillan reveals through her use of major historical moments (the French Revolution, World War I and II, the Iraq War) and profiles of the great leaders (Churchill, Nixon, Napoleon). Full of insights gleaned from studies of numerous historical events, Dangerous Games is at once a beautiful tribute to MacMillan’s profession and a plea to treat history with care.
Praise for Dangerous Games:
"In this important work, we learn that history is more than presenting facts, it is about framing the past. This is a must read for anyone who wants to understand the importance of correctly understanding the past." —Publishers Weekly
"MacMillan deftly maneuvers through time [in this] wide-ranging and provocative testament to transparency as the best historical education."
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"For both historians and lay readers, this thoughtful and provocative work will be enlightening and useful."
"In a world where the spin-doctor has replaced the historian, MacMillan reminds readers of the importance of dispassionate, fact-driven narrative, as opposed to reassuring or self-serving accounts that pass for history while burying unpleasant truths."
"[Dangerous Games] reads like the practical manifesto of an especially eminent historian. It tells us why history matters, how it is written and what function it has for societies that continue to place value in its free and rigorous study. It explains why history (and the historian) is needed and what the consequences are when—like all potentially dangerous substances, democracy included—it falls into the wrong hands... This is history used as its own best argument."
—The Toronto Star
"This is an eminently sensible and humane book, lucidly and enjoyable written and argued. It is addressed to the general reader, and anyone interested in history should find it an engaging, quick read."
—The Globe and Mail