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on April 27, 2016
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on March 9, 2016
This book fills in the blanks for an already well informed man. I can't wait to read it myself
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on March 1, 2016
100% Satisfied
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on November 18, 2015
Exactly as advertised and fast delivery.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon November 12, 2015
Great follow up to the War that Ended Peace. Margaret McMillan certainly has a skill for breaking down and bringing to life such a seemingly overwhelming topic as WWI and then the peace conference that led to the Treaty of Versailles. You really do get a feel for the individual personalities that were critical to negotiating the peace, their petty differences, rivalries and friendships. You feel that you are in the room with them watching as they draw lines on a map, affecting the lives of millions of people with a simple scratch of a pen. It as also sad to see Wilson's 14 points and the principle of self determination - a revolutionary concept at the time be sacrificed to national interests, fear of bolshevism and frankly racist preconceptions of certain peoples. While it is a must read for anyone interested in the history of WWI it is also surprisingly prescient for today's politics. The middle east was ungovernable despite the meddling efforts of the European powers to impose "civilization" and is a mess now. She also has very interesting observations on the dealings with China and Japan and how their experiences at the peace conference alienated them from the west and traces the lingering mutual mistrust between east and west particularly with China as it flexes its new economic muscle in increasingly nationalistic and militaristic means. You can't help but think that maybe the leaders of today should read this book and try to learn from the lessons of the past.
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on November 1, 2015
This book is an excellent resource for those studying early twentieth century history. It covers all the major topics of the Treaty of Versailles in great detail, and the personalities, as well. MacMillan's main idea seems to be that the Treaty of Versailles, despite how history has remembered it until now, was not the main thrust behind World War Two. It's flaws, of which there were many, did not inevitably lead to Hitler's rise; rather it was the twenty years of decision-making and action in between the two wars that bare the true responsibility. Yes, there were many problems in the treaty, but it was how the main players chose to respond to that reality which determined the course of history. The peacemakers were dealing with a complex dynamic of falling empires, emerging cultures and nationalities, and political, social, and cultural upheaval. They tried valiantly to solve all those problems and come up with a working solution in a new world order of negotiation and self-determination.
Rather then denigrate them, as historians have done for the past 80 years, they should be seen as they were; strong leaders who, despite their own biases and political constituencies, tried to change the world for the better. They weren't perfect; many times their own needs came first; but we should see them as champions of a new era of diplomacy, as far as they were able.

In that sense, MacMillan has presented us a revisionist history of the Treaty of Versailles and its aftermath. Perhaps being a great granddaughter of David Lloyd George may have been a driving principal behind her attempt to shine a new and more positive light on the "Big Four" and their proceedings in Paris. I think she's done a noble job, though.
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on September 3, 2015
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. I found the chapters in the middle of the book on east European countries rather tedious, but then I find east European countries themselves rather tedious. The opening chapters on the main players at the Paris talks were very good (I started with the shadiest knowledge of Lloyd George and Woodrow Wilson and no knowledge at all of the French and Italian leaders at the time. The ending chapters on the Middle east are very good too. My Iranian pal consistently claims that the mess that is the Middle East is all the fault of the Western Powers (he likes to blame the US and Britain especially). This book, unfortunately, bears him out.
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on August 25, 2015
Very authoritative. Margaret MacMillan lays open the historical record for all to see. Great book in excellent condition. Great vendor.
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on May 12, 2015
Must read ! I tell all my friends.
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on April 15, 2015
This exceptionally informative and interesting book should be required reading for anyone who watches the news. I occasionally had the sense when reading this book that I finally understood the polictical geography of Europe and it was somewhat different than what I had imagined.

I think that people of my generation perceive the political map of the world as it existed in the years before the Second World War as the default or natural state of affairs--later changes appear to be derivative and somehow less natural. It seldom occurs to us that political boundaries in Europe have been in a continual state of flux throughout modern times. Many of the European political boundaries that existed in the thirties were drawn in the Treaty of Versailles that was negotiated (and sometimes dictated) at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. this book is about the conferernce and how it dealt with the shrinkage of Germany and the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires, among many other territorial changes in other parts of the world.

The portraits of the principal protagonists (Woodrow Wilson, Georges Clemenceau, David Lloyd George, and Vittorio Orlando) are entertainingly drawn, and there are excellent cameo appearances by lesser and sometimes exotic figures from around the world. The descriptions of the many peronalities are very entertaining

Here, in no particular order, are some of the conclusions of this work. Wilson's 14 points elevated the tone of moral discourse, increased nationalist aspirations, and was fundamentally unworkable. The patchwork and intermixture of ethnic, linguistic, and religoius groups around the world usually meant that political boundaries could not be drawn without making some groups unhappy. Small countries behaved as selfishly, greedily, and insensitively as larger countries; the same was true for minorities. The major powers adopted a eurocentric view of the world. The Treaty of Versailles represtented compromises among the national self-interests of the victorious countries (weighted by the amount of blood and treasure lost in the war, the importance of the particular issue at hand to one of the four countries concerned, and the amount of the particular country's post-war military power). The French were justifiably afraid of a recovered Germany and everyone was afraid of the Bolsheviks. The English threw in their lot with the Americans. As the conference continued, the amount of influence of its decisions steadily declined with the demobilization of the armies - decisions were sometimes made that were unenforceable or easily reversed by the locals.

The conferees were certainly conscientious. Nevertheless, the complexity of the very many decisions that had to be made defied the limitations of the human intellect. Decisions were sometimes influenced by wishful thinking, ignorance of local conditions, the propaganda of particular groups, the personalities of particular leaders, shocking publicized incidents, and sheer mental exhaustion. In the end, the leaders behaved like policitical and bureaucratic leaders do everywhere when making complex decisions under extreme time pressure - according to an informal mixture of expediency, unexamined preconceptions, mutual social influence and satisfiscing.

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