The Uses and Abuses of History

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Professor Margaret MacMillan
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The Uses and Abuses of History.pdf


The past is capricious enough to support every stance - no matter how questionable. In 2002, the Bush administration decided that dealing with Saddam Hussein was like appeasing Hitler or Mussolini, and promptly invaded Iraq. Were they wrong to look to history for guidance? No; their mistake was to exaggerate one of its lessons while suppressing others of equal importance. History is often hijacked through suppression, manipulation, and, sometimes, even outright deception. MacMillan's book is packed full of examples of the abuses of history. In response, she urges us to treat the past with care and respect.

This collection of engaging and vigorous essays examine what makes the 'history business' tick. Davison demonstrates that Australia's history canbe relevant to the issues we confront everyday at the governmental level, at work, and in our communities. Her new book is a brief but invigoratingly panoramic survey of the ends to which these, and other historical narratives, can be put: the "uses and abuses" of history.

It can offer examples to inform our decisions and guesses about the consequences of our actions. Nietzsche, Use & Abuse of History 3 the knowledge that existence is only an uninterrupted living in the past [Gewesensein], something which exists for the purpose of self-denial, self-destruction, and self-contradiction. If happiness or if, in some sense or other, a reaching out for new happiness is what holds the living onto life and pushes them forward into life, then perhaps no philosopher ... History is a key device by which collective and personal identities are constructed and challenged, and therefore functions as an extension of major debates in the contemporary world.