The Uses and Abuses of History

The Uses and Abuses of History
Margaret MacMillan

The use and abuse of history is a topic so generic you’ll find the same title appearing three times among the short list of books Margaret MacMillan suggests for further reading on the subject. MacMillan’s version, originally delivered as a series of public lectures, is geared toward a general audience and doesn’t advance any new or interesting arguments. Each chapter circles around issues relating to how history has been put to political use. There are recurrent themes, like the need for elites to claim the moral high ground by portraying themselves as victims of historical injustice (an old song: the inheritors of the Roman empire were all, like the Romans, descendants of Troy) but one is left feeling that MacMillan doesn’t have any particular point to make.