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Reith lectures: Professor Margaret Macmillan on human-beings and war

By: stagedoorscribbler - July 2, 2018

Professor Margaret Macmillan

One or other of the extended Snow dynasty seems to be everywhere you look. And no wonder, for their a talented and interesting family. Husband and wife  broadcasters and historians Peter Snow and  Ann Macmillan  are regular contributors to Clive Conway Productions as indeed is The History man himself, their son Dan.

Now Ann’s sister Professor Margaret Macmillan is fascinating the nation with a gripping series of Reith lectures on the deeply  complex subject of whether war is an essential part of being human? For it certainly seems as though the act of war is inextricably tied in with the progression and development of society.

Uncomfortable as that fact may be there remains a dark paradox in the certain knowledge that the destruction and mayhem of war can actually bring benefits and progress.

Macmillan,who is emeritus professor of international history at Oxford University and a professor of history at the University of Toronto says:

We like to think of war as an aberration, as the breakdown of the normal state of peace. This is comforting but wrong. War is deeply woven into the history of human society. Wherever we look in the past, no matter where or how far back we go, groups of people have organised themselves to protect their own territory or ways of life and, often, to attack those of others. Over the centuries we have deplored the results and struggled to tame war, even abolish it, while we have also venerated the warrior and talked of the nobility and grandeur of war. We all, as human beings, have something to say about war."