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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars18
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 21 October 2012
This book is based on a series of lectures given by the author at a Canadian university. It's topical and thought provoking and if you're looking for a good introduction as to why history matters, is a good starting point. It's concise, well written, and has some really good examples of history being reinvented to shape the present, or alternatively of being ignored or misunderstood at great cost. I was astonished to find that the author's book on the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 ("Peacemakers") couldn't originally find a publisher because at the time it wasn't considered to be a fashionable area of history! This book sheds some light on how those trends come and go. Well worth a read.
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on 28 April 2013
A truly great book about how history works, exposing the many ways it is used and interpreted by those in control.
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on 17 November 2014
I was hoping for a serious book on historiography, instead, this turned out to be very superficial. If you don't know much about history, perhaps you could learn something but if you already have a rough idea what history is all about, this book covers too much material too broadly to say anything really interesting. The style is condescending and glib. The author's political prejudices are all too obvious. She seems far too credulous about the motivations behind some recent contemporary political events such as the Iraq war and the handling of the credit collapse.
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on 20 January 2011
Sets out clearly and concisely with comprehensive examples how "history" (real, imagined or both) is used to create, shape and reinforce national identity - for better or worse. And the political, social and military consequences of failures to recognise and understand this, and to respond appropriately.
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on 20 May 2014
"... that a citizenry that cannot begin to put the present into context, that has so little knowledge of the past, can too easily be fed stories by those who claim to speak with the knowledge of history and its lessons."
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on 3 December 2013
In a recent review of the book Catastrophe by Max Hastings I said that after the horrors of WW1 how could WW2 have been allowed to happen. Professor Macmillan's book provides the answer which alone makes it worth reading. It is a wide ranging review of the way history is seen and used inevitably with some emphasis on Canada, Macmillan's home country. Easy to read and well worth the effort.
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on 6 March 2014
Very readable.gave a good insight into how political history can be. How we cannot assume everyone thinks the same way we do.
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on 21 November 2014
It gives a clear and effective layout of history in it's past, present and future, it's shame it was not long enough but a great book to read. 😀🌿🌐
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on 18 November 2015
This is a well researched book written in an accessible style. The author presents an overview of how history's past is mined for political capital in todays world. At times this is benign and aids in the uncovering of voices which have been overlooked in previous generations. Other times this has been used to stir up ancient fears and hatreds for political gain. Ether way the reading of this book will provide a valuable guide and sense of the world through the lens of all our yesterdays.Recommended.
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on 18 January 2016
Excellent account of the uses and abuses of history ....just what it says on the tin!!
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