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The instinct to fight may be innate in human nature, but war—organized violence—comes with organized society. War has shaped humanity’s history, its social and political institutions, its values and ideas. Our very language, our public spaces, our private memories, and some of our greatest cultural treasures reflect the glory and the misery of war. War is an uncomfortable and challenging subject not least because it brings out both the vilest and the noblest aspects of humanity.
Margaret MacMillan looks at the ways in which war has influenced human society and how, in turn, changes in political organization, technology, or ideologies have affected how and why we fight. War is not an aberration. War and human society are deeply intertwined —it is an important dimension of the human story. We cannot ignore war and its impact on the development of human society if we hope to understand our world and how we reached this point in history.
Margaret MacMillan is an award wining author, emeritus professor of international history at the University of Oxford, and professor of history at the University of Toronto. She received her PhD from Oxford University and became a member of the history faculty at Ryerson University in 1975. In 2002, she became Provost of Trinity College at the University of Toronto, and from 2007 to 2017 she was the Warden of St. Antony’s College at Oxford University.
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