Blogs > Cliopatria > Dangerous Games: The Uses and Abuses of History -- By Margaret MacMillan

Jun 25, 2009 10:00 pm

Dangerous Games: The Uses and Abuses of History -- By Margaret MacMillan

[From Publishers Weekly] Starred Review. MacMillan, author of the acclaimed Paris 1919, reminds readers that history matters: It is particularly unfortunate that just as history is becoming more important in our public discussions, professional historians have largely been abandoning the field to amateurs. According to MacMillan, this is a grave mistake. Governments and leaders use history to invent tradition and subvert the past. In a world hungry for heroes, badly researched historical biographies fly off bookstore shelves. In this highly readable and polished book, readers learn of the dangers of not properly tending to the past, of distorting it and ignoring inconvenient facts. If done correctly, history helps unlock the past in useful ways. The author explores the ways history has present meaning—not always constructively: in providing a sense of identity for groups, as a basis of nationalism or national pride, as a tool for redress of past wrongs and as an ideological tool. 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.

comments powered by Disqus