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“The War That Ended Peace tells the story of how intelligent, well-meaning leaders guided their nations into catastrophe. These epic events, brilliantly described by one of our era’s most talented historians, warn of the dangers that arise when we fail to anticipate the consequences of our actions. This is one of the finest books I have ever read on the causes of World War I.”

Madeleine Albright, former secretary of state

The War That Ended Peace has now been released.

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The First World War followed a period of sustained peace in Europe during which people talked with confidence of prosperity, progress, and hope. But in 1914, Europe walked into a catastrophic conflict that killed millions, bled its economies dry, shook empires and societies to pieces, and fatally undermined Europe’s dominance of the world. It was a war that could have been avoided up to the last moment—so why did it happen?


Beginning in the early nineteenth century and ending with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, award-winning historian Margaret Macmillan uncovers the huge political and technological changes, national decisions, and just as impor­tant, the small moments of human muddle and weakness that led Europe from peace to disaster. This masterful exploration of how Europe chose its path towards war will change and enrich how we see this defining moment in history.


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Up Coming Events

Franschhoek Literary Festival

May 16 - 18, 2014

Franschhoek, South Africa

May 16 | Friday, 11:30 am | Oxford for Outsiders

May 16 | Friday, 7:30 pm | Sunday Times Readers' Dinner

May 17 | Saturday, 10:00 am | War - But No Lasting Peace

May 17 | Saturday, 2:30 pm | History Without Guns

May 18 | Sunday, 1:00 pm | The Colonial Aftermath

For more information please click here.

Newbury Spring Festival

May 24, 2014 | 2:30 - 5:30 | Corn Exchange

Newbury, UK

A fascinating opportunity to hear four of the country's leading military historians, including Margaret MacMillan, present their individual views on different aspects of The Great War. Each fifteen minute talk will be followed by brief questions under the chairmanship of the Newbury Spring Festival's Chairman David Livermore.

For more information please click here.

Hay-on-Wye Festival

May 30, 2014 | 14:30 - 15:15 | The Tata Tent

Hay-on-Wye, Wales

The First World War followed a period of sustained peace in Europe during which people talked with confidence of prosperity, progress and hope. But in 1914, Europe walked into a catastrophic conflict that killed millions of its men, bled its economies dry, shook empires and societies to pieces, and fatally undermined Europe’s dominance of the world. It was a war that could have been avoided up to the last moment – so why did it happen?

For more information please click here.

History Festival of Ireland

June 07, 2014 | 15:00 | Barn Stage

June 08, 2014 | 12:00 | Barn Stage

Huntington Castle, Clonegal, Carlow | Ireland

June 07 | Choice or Accident? The Outbreak of the First World War' presented by Margaret MacMillan and chaired by Giles FitzHerbert

June 08 | History: A cause for comfort or concern? with John Regan, Margaret MacMillan, Martin Mansergh, Patrick Geoghean and Ciaran Brady (chair)

For more information please click here.

Chalke Valley History Festival

June 24, 2014 | 18:30 - 19:30 | Whistler Tent

Ebbesbourne Wake, UK -

Award-winning historian Professor Margaret MacMillan will trace the huge political and technological changes, national decisions and human weakness that led Europe from peace to disaster in 1914. Beginning in the early nineteenth century and ending with the assassination of Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand, the path to the catastrophic conflict of 1914 will be exposed as Europe’s dominance of the world was fatally undermined.

For more information please click here.

The Telegraph Ways With Words Festival

July 4 - 14, 2014

Darlington Hall, UK

The programme for 2014 will be available in May 2014

For more information please click here.

Edinburgh International Festival

August 09, 2014 | 2:30 - 3:30 | The Hub

Edinburgh, Scotland

Professor Margaret MacMillan argues that in 1914, after a sustained period of peace, Europe walked into a catastrophic conflict that killed millions, bled its economies dry, shook empires and undermined the continent’s dominance of the world. Presented in association with the Embassy of the Republic of Serbia.

For more information please click here.

Wells Festival of Literature

October 10 - 18, 2014

Wells, UK

Details about this event will be made available sometime in April

For more information please click here.

The War that Ended Peace

An excerpt:


The Great War still casts its shadows both physically and in our imaginations. Tons of ordnance are still buried in the battlefields and every so often someone - an unlucky farmer ploughing in Belgium, perhaps - is added to the casualty lists. Every spring after the ground has unfrozen, units of Belgian and French armies have to gather up the unexploded shells that have been heaved up. In our memories too the Great War, thanks in part to an extraordinary outpouring of memoirs and novels and paintings, but also because so many of us have family connections to it, remain that dark and dreadful chapter in our history. Both my grandfathers fought in the war; one in the Middle East with the Indian Army, the other a Canadian doctor in a field hospital on the Western Front. My family still has the medals won then, a sword given by a grateful patient in Baghdad, and a hand grenade which we played with as children in Canada until someone realised that it had probably not been disarmed.


Read more....

Festivals at a Glance

May 16 - 18, 2014

Franschhoek, South Africa

May 10 - 24, 2014

Newbury, UK

May 22 - June 01, 2014

Hay-on-Wye, Wales

June 07 - 08, 2014

Huntington Castle, Clonegal, Carlow | Ireland

June 23 - 29, 2014

Essebourne Wake, UK

July 04 - 14, 2014

Darlington Hall, UK

August 8 - 31, 2014

Edinburgh, Scotland

October 10 - 18, 2014

Wells, UK

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