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Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World Hardcover – Oct 29 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1 edition (Oct. 29 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375508260
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375508264
  • Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 16.8 x 5.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #185,510 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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First Sentence
ON DECEMBER 4, 1918, the George Washington sailed out of New York with the American delegation to the Peace Conference on board. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By "douglasnegley" on Sept. 29 2003
Format: Paperback
I so badly want to give this book 5-stars, simply because of the great research, presentation, and 'inside' notes and documents which were consulted in order to give a comprehensive look at the conference. One of the problems with the book (mentioned, I believe, by another reviewer) is the lack of maps. Yes, at the beginning we get a few overall maps at different points in chronological time - but there should be a map or two at the start of every chapter. So complicated was this process of re-drawing nearly the whole of Europe, Asia, the Mid-East, etc., and so diverse and complex were the nationalities vying for a piece of it, that one loses track of who had what (if anything) before the war, and who wants how much afterward. Maps would help greatly in following this most important process. Nothing less than a pivotal point in World history whose reverberations still shake our globe nearly a full Century later, this book shows just how shaky and confused the victors were (let alone those who 'lost') as well as the naivety of Wilson, specifically, and of his "Fourteen Points". A great, if sometimes confusing and difficult read.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By M. Burger on April 16 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book is highly interesting due to the rich detail in which the author relates the history of the peace-making after World War I. Much to the reader's joy she devotes a lot of attention to the settlements in the non-European parts of the world, in what is a lively treatment of the issues in 1919 and the subsequent events.
What in my opinion is the major shortcoming of the book, is that the purpose it has been written for becomes so apparent all along. The book should be termed "Paris 1919. An apology". Highly critical on all other settlements (the farther away from Europe, the more critical the author allows herself to be: see Turkey, Palestine, China), she asserts that "Versailles is not to blame".
Indeed, the author too easily jumps to conclusions. The most widely cited conclusion of her book is that the reparations forced upon Germany are not to blame for the rise of Hitler and WW II. Indeed events of 1919 never can be fully the reason for subsequent events say in 1933 or 1939. But it would be interesting to learn how much these events in 1919 were responsible for later developments. This would require a detailed study of the period 1919 to 1939 and one can only wonder how an author writing about a few months of peace negotiations in 1919 could ever come to a sensible conclusion about this issue! It is appalling to see that the author is even being applauded for this "research".
In fact, the only supportive argument the author offers, is that Germany until 1932 only had paid a comparatively small amount of its reparations - as if any debtor would relish about the (small) amount paid so far instead of the (much larger) sum outstanding! The facts are never presented by the author, only her conclusions.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Hektor Konomi on Jan. 21 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Margaret MacMillan has created a well written account of a crucial year that shaped the world, and set the stage for the rest of the 20th century.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Penmachine on Aug. 4 2004
Format: Paperback
This book demonstrates why I am in awe of historians. The scope of research and the way MacMillan pulls it together coherently are remarkable.
Political leaders were more honest about the warlike nature of nations a hundred years ago. Before the human and financial enormities of the Great War, leaders and citizens assumed that wars were what countries did. It was how they grew and gained influence. In Paris, MacMillan reveals, some wanted to change that. But they didn't.
Perhaps they couldn't have. My impression from the book is that, while Woodrow Wilson in particular wanted (at least in theory) an end to war, and an end to the old land-grabbing power-mongering that led to it, nearly everyone at the Paris Peace Conference (including Wilson himself) was looking out for their own countries' interests, even if those countries didn't exist yet. It took an even more horrible conflict 20 years later, as well as the Cold War, to bring peace to Europe, and even that dissolved in the Balkans and elsewhere in the 1990s.
MacMillan shows that the Peace Conference delegates tried very, very hard. Often they were working at cross-purposes, and the results were, in the end, almost total failure. But they did not know it at the time. Maybe we never do.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For those who, like me, thought that The Treaty of Versailles was about all there was to the Paris 1919 Peace Conference, this is a book for you. Margaret Macmillan presents a complete but complex picture of the work and achievements of the Big Three (Wilson, Lloyd George and Clemenceau) whose work was to draw a new World out of the destruction of the old.

The list of country who tried to gain territory, influence and power is endless. Greece, Italy, Yougoslavia, Poland, Bulgaria, Albania, Japan and so on all tried to "pull the blanket" on their side. Even states that were defeated, like Turkey or Hungary, had huge demands.

Negociating with all those beggars, who shamelessly exaggerated in order to gain something or steal from their neighboring country must have been a physical and emotional ordeal for the Peacemakers. I often wonder, reading the book, how in the world Lloyd George and Wilson were able to get through all this. The temptation to leave Paris must have been almost overwhelming.

After going through those exhausting negociations, the Peacemaker had to still deal with Germany. The chapter recalling what those poor German representatives had to endure in order to sign the Treaty in the Hall of Mirrors is worth the time you'll invest in reading the whole of the book all by itself.

I will of course recommend this fine book for any lover of political or sociological history, but be warn, it will take more than a single reading to digest it all.
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