Margaret MacMillan is the Greatest Diplomatic Historian of the Twentieth Century
††††††††††† Quite by accident, I picked up an unabridged audio recording of Nixon and Mao: The Week that Changed the World. It is an awesome book, riveting and jaw dropping.† For anyone interested in mid-century American history, not to mention the Vietnam War, this is a book not to be missed. It is a description of Americaís† historic opening with China, the shift from an anti-communist foreign policy to one of accommodation. Just priceless.
††††††††††† So when my sister-in-law recommended 1919: Six Months that Changed the World I read it with interest and gusto.† It is the story of the Versailles Peace Conference.† Seeing as the current troubles in Palestine, Syria and Iraq stem directly from the consequences of that negotiation, it is essential reading for everyone from interested voters to soldiers about to deploy.† For anyone interested in knowing why the world is the way it is, 1919 is a good place to start or finish.
††††††††††† Now comes her latest masterpiece, The War That Ended Peace, a history of the European diplomacy that preceded World War I.† This is the centennial year of World War I.† Seeing as the peace of the world is still threatened by unresolved conflicts from that carnage, it would behoove anyone interested in peace to give this gem a glance.
††††††††††† I was 300 pages into The War That Ended Peace when I learned that Margaret MacMillan is the great granddaughter of David Lloyd George, Britainís Minister of Armaments and Prime Minister during World War I.† Dr. Macmillanís work is the distillation, not just of a lifetime, but of an entire family and national history over generations. †Her personal experience gave her a heads-up on where to look for crucial events.
††††††††††† Furthermore, Dr. MacMillan has the perfect perspective for objective analysis.† As a Canadian, she comes from a nation that was a participant in all the important conflicts, but in a minor, supporting role rather than as a major decision-maker, so her national pride is not at risk. †As a woman, she is, (pardon my sexist slant) more conciliatory than most men and therefore better able to see, and therefore explain, without making unwarranted judgments, how each party interpreted and acted on events.†
††††††††††† The world is indeed fortunate to have the skills and dedication of Margaret MacMillan to relate and interpret many of the most important events of the twentieth century.† She is doing Godís work.† For those of us who have the privilege of reading her books, it is as close to being in heaven as we will come in this life.