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University of Toronto historian Margaret MacMillan failed at first to find a Canadian publisher for her account of the pivotal peace conference that followed the First World War and, some have said, laid the groundwork for the second, but when Paris 1919 won the Samuel Johnson Prize in the U.K., it returned home a bestseller and remained so for years. MacMillan, great-granddaughter of one of the conference's principals, David Lloyd George, has written a definitive history--authoritative, colourful, and engrossing--of the peace that failed.
A joke circulating in Paris early in 1919 held that the peacemaking Council of Four, representing Britain, France, the U.S. and Italy, was busy preparing a "just and lasting war." Six months of parleying concluded on June 28 with Germany's coerced agreement to a treaty no Allied statesman had fully read, according to MacMillan, a history professor at the University of Toronto, in this vivid account. Although President Wilson had insisted on a League of Nations, even his own Senate would vote the league down and refuse the treaty. As a rush to make expedient settlements replaced initial negotiating inertia, appeals by many nationalities for Wilsonian self-determination would be overwhelmed by rhetoric justifying national avarice. The Italians, who hadn't won a battle, and the French, who'd been saved from catastrophe, were the greediest, says MacMillan; the Japanese plucked Pacific islands that had been German and a colony in China known for German beer. The austere and unlikable Wilson got nothing; returning home, he suffered a debilitating stroke. The council's other members horse-traded for spoils, as did Greece, Poland and the new Yugoslavia. There was, Wilson declared, "disgust with the old order of things," but in most decisions the old order in fact prevailed, and corrosive problems, like Bolshevism, were shelved. Hitler would blame Versailles for more ills than it created, but the signatories often could not enforce their writ. MacMillan's lucid prose brings her participants to colorful and quotable life, and the grand sweep of her narrative encompasses all the continents the peacemakers vainly carved up. 16 pages of photos, maps.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
I read this book because I read Macmillan's 1919. 1919 is better, but this is still pretty good. The book is about the making of the Versailles Treaty. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Vince Marinelli
Very authoritative. Margaret MacMillan lays open the historical record for all to see. Great book in excellent condition. Great vendor.Published 1 month ago by TT
This exceptionally informative and interesting book should be required reading for anyone who watches the news. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Vernon Quinsey
Amazing insights. Rings so true (coming from Easter Europe)Published 10 months ago by Andrei Oliinyk
Excellent service -everyone in North America should read this book. Should be a High School text book.Published 11 months ago by A.Stedmann
I read the book after having heard much about it. I found the work lacking and the author's conclusions somewhat forced. It seemed that she is having an agenda. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Elfrad
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. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Marc Ranger