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あらすじ・解説

Is peace an aberration? The best-selling author of Paris 1919 offers a provocative view of war as an essential component of humanity. 

Named One of the 10 Best Books of the Year by The New York Times Book Review and The East Hampton Star

“Margaret MacMillan has produced another seminal work.... She is right that we must, more than ever, think about war. And she has shown us how in this brilliant, elegantly written book.” (H.R. McMaster, author of Dereliction of Duty and Battlegrounds: The Fight to Defend the Free World)

The instinct to fight may be innate in human nature, but war - organized violence - comes with organized society. War has shaped humanity’s history, its social and political institutions, its values and ideas. Our very language, our public spaces, our private memories, and some of our greatest cultural treasures reflect the glory and the misery of war. War is an uncomfortable and challenging subject not least because it brings out both the vilest and the noblest aspects of humanity. 

Margaret MacMillan looks at the ways in which war has influenced human society and how, in turn, changes in political organization, technology, or ideologies have affected how and why we fight. War: How Conflict Shaped Us explores such much-debated and controversial questions as: When did war first start? Does human nature doom us to fight one another? Why has war been described as the most organized of all human activities? Why are warriors almost always men? Is war ever within our control?

Drawing on lessons from wars throughout the past, from classical history to the present day, MacMillan reveals the many faces of war - the way it has determined our past, our future, our views of the world, and our very conception of ourselves.

©2020 Margaret MacMillan (P)2020 Random House Audio

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  • 総合評価
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ナレーション
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ストーリー
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Aaron Sadino
  • 2020/10/07

Outstanding Exploration of War and Mankind

This is an incredibly thought provoking and comprehensive exploration of how war and human civilization have influenced each other. Margaret MacMillan is a well respected historian and she has really outdone herself with this book. She takes a philosophical approach to why we fight wars and how those reasons have evolved along with human civilization. She touches on the paradoxes that have presented themselves as our world moves away from dictatorships and monarchies and into an age of governance dominated by democratically elected leaders. She also touches on the future of warfare and how we must face the grim reality that war is a beast that is far from being tamed. I highly suggest this book for anyone who loves history and wishes to gain a deeper understanding of how human nature and war are connected.

  • 総合評価
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ナレーション
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ストーリー
    4 out of 5 stars
  • David
  • 2020/10/31

Thorough and Thoughtful

“War” is a broad analysis of war through the ages. Margaret MacMillan does an excellent job addressing the causes of war, the strategies and tactics, the scientific innovations, the impact on soldiers and civilians and the difficulty of ending wars. She is insightful on the roles of women and the treatment of war in literature.

I’ve read other histories by MacMillan, including “Paris 1919,” her compelling study of the Versailles peace talks. She is a fine writer, always holding the reader’s interest. My one hesitation in “War” is the lack of narrative drive. MacMillan jumps around, historically and geographically, because she organizes her materials by theme rather than chronologically. That’s fine for readers on the page, who might profitably jump from section to section to follow their interests, but it is more difficult for an audio listener. I sometimes felt whipsawed as the author jumped from, say, ancient wars between Sparta and Athens to recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to the Hundred Years War.

Deepti Gupta is an excellent narrator, reading with a light South Asian accent. Overall, this was a thoughtful and fascinating study.

  • 総合評価
    2 out of 5 stars
  • ナレーション
    1 out of 5 stars
  • ストーリー
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Steve Winnett
  • 2021/02/25

Horrible choice of narrator derails this book

I'm sorry but Margaret MacMillan is not from India like the narrator here she is from Canada and the choice of a narrator with an Indian accent was simply too jarring to make it possible to enjoy listening to this book. In addition the narrator mispronounces so many terms and phrases it makes me wonder if anyone was actually managing or editing this audio production. She just grated on the ears from word one.

A further problem is that although the book exhibits a stupendous breadth of historical knowledge the whole effort is a mile wide and an inch deep just a compendium of anecdotes and historical nuggets as we meander through wars across time. The New York Times rated this one of the top 10 books of 2020 no way! The author's book on Versailles (Paris 1919) was at that level, not this production. Of course maybe if the narration had been more suitable it would have been possible to pay more attention to the content.

What a total disappointment. In the end I was so fed up that I did something I rarely do - I abandoned it and returned it.

  • 総合評価
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ナレーション
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ストーリー
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mary K. Bohm
  • 2020/12/06

Greatest Book Ever

Margaret MacMillan, the best diplomatic historian of the twentieth century and David Lloyd George’s great-granddaughter, has written a paradigm shattering study of war.

  • 総合評価
    2 out of 5 stars
  • ナレーション
    2 out of 5 stars
  • ストーリー
    1 out of 5 stars
  • A. M.
  • 2021/04/29

A hodgepodge of anecdotal facts

Nothing that interesting here, just a collection of loose facts from wars past strung together along with a bland narrative. Aside from a chat through history's various conflicts, I don't remember a single thing I learned from reading this book. This was an exploration into what, again? War? What is it good for? Nothing.

  • 総合評価
    4 out of 5 stars
  • ナレーション
    3 out of 5 stars
  • ストーリー
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Rachel
  • 2021/01/11

non fiction, quite interesting

Quite good with the history or war and different viewpoints with civilians and military, that is often not seen but greatly appreciated with this book by this combat veteran!

  • 総合評価
    3 out of 5 stars
  • ナレーション
    4 out of 5 stars
  • ストーリー
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Robert D Hunter
  • 2021/01/03

Book Without a Purpose

A compendium of everything you ever want to know about war but no thesis/premise .

  • 総合評価
    2 out of 5 stars
  • ナレーション
    3 out of 5 stars
  • ストーリー
    1 out of 5 stars
  • rce2md
  • 2020/12/31

nieve

does not take into consideration what happens when the world runs out of raw materials

  • 総合評価
    3 out of 5 stars
  • ナレーション
    3 out of 5 stars
  • ストーリー
    3 out of 5 stars
  • S.
  • 2020/12/26

Longest short book I’ve encountered

After reading a glowing review in the NYTs, and hearing Dr. Macmillan speak I was very interested in listening to this work.
Depending on your level of history knowledge determines my personal recommendation to spend time with this work or pass.
If you are just becoming familiar with this topic, I can highly recommend it and give it 5 stars. If you are like me and have quite a bit of knowledge going in, 2 stars.
A review in the WPo, is an accurate summary of my opinion, but a few items Were not mentioned.
1. Although her thesis is obvious, she did a very poor job of proving it due to a lack of examples and sources outside WWI (especially) and WW2. A history professor once told me that everything prior to 1800 is “current events”. If you remove British examples and letters from WWI, you’d surely lessen the page length by a third. Many of these examples have been told many times before. Therefore there is little evidence of broader worldwide behavior such as India, South America or the Middle East and Asia or Africa. (Yes there are some examples from these areas, but they are very few).
2. There is little analysis here, only a list of events. It’s like a long catalog of examples.
3. The choice of narrator was poor to my ear. This is actually my problem but I find her pacing and diction to be distracting. There is zero criticism of her, she speaks well and seems fluent in language other than English. Here voice is simply distracting to me.
Finally, there is simply nothing new here other than a couple of pages regarding Women and War. THAT is a topic deserving of further research. But for this 63 year old history major, this work was a severe disappointment and thought it was the longest 10 hours I’ve spent listening to an audiobook... well, ever.

  • 総合評価
    2 out of 5 stars
  • ナレーション
    3 out of 5 stars
  • ストーリー
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Brian Hays
  • 2020/12/10

Didn’t quite do it for me

I was hoping for more on the psychology of why we go to war. The bulk of the book is about the history of war and it’s evolution.

The other difficulty was keeping up with the author’s ping-ponging back and forth through the ages to elaborate on each point.

That said, as a history major and military history buff, I learned a lot from this read.