The Uses and Abuses of History (B Format Paperback)


'MacMillan has written illuminatingly on topics as diverse as the 1919 Paris peace conference and Nixon in China. Perhaps more unusually she is also a gifted writer, and her account of the various uses of history is wonderfully accessible. Her message – that we cannot help invoking the past when we try to shape the future, but should use it with due caution and humility – is a salutary one for politicians' John Gray

SKU: 9781846682100


The past is capricious enough to support every stance – no matter how questionable. In 2002, the Bush administration decided that dealing with Saddam Hussein was like appeasing Hitler or Mussolini, and promptly invaded Iraq. Were they wrong to look to history for guidance? No; their mistake was to exaggerate one of its lessons while suppressing others of equal importance. History is often hijacked through suppression, manipulation, and, sometimes, even outright deception. MacMillan's book is packed full of examples of the abuses of history. In response, she urges us to treat the past with care and respect.