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How war brings out the best and the bestial in humanity

Margaret MacMillan's new book examines the paradoxes inherent in violent conflict

By Piers Brendon   November 2020
A grieving American soldier is comforted by another soldier during the Korean War. Credit: Flickr

A grieving American soldier is comforted by another soldier during the Korean War. Credit: Flickr

The historian Margaret MacMillan justifies her book on the grounds that war is one of the great forces in history and that its study is essential if we are to make sense of our past. To be sure, we are war-making animals. And all too often, as Orwell said, war is peace. During the so-called “long peace” since 1945, over 50m…

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