Winter 2021 selections for history readers!
War: How Conflict Shaped Us
Thoughtful and brilliant insights into the very nature of war--from the ancient Greeks to modern times--from world-renowned historian Margaret MacMillan.
War--its imprint in our lives and our memories--is all around us, from the metaphors we use to the names on our maps. As books, movies, and television series show, we are drawn to the history and depiction of war. Yet we nevertheless like to think of war as an aberration, as the breakdown of the normal state of peace. This is comforting but wrong. War is woven into the fabric of human civilization.
In this sweeping new book, international bestselling author and historian Margaret MacMillan analyzes the tangled history of war and society and our complicated feelings towards it and towards those who fight. It explores the ways in which changes in society have affected the nature of war and how in turn wars have changed the societies that fight them, including the ways in which women have been both participants in and the objects of war.
MacMillan's new book contains many revelations, such as war has often been good for science and innovation and in the 20th century it did much for the position of women in many societies. But throughout, it forces the reader to reflect on the ways in which war is so intertwined with society, and the myriad reasons we fight.
A thrilling new telling of the story of modern Canada's origins.
The story of the Hudson's Bay Company, dramatic and adventurous and complex, is the story of modern Canada's creation. And yet it hasn't been told in a book for over thirty years, and never in such depth and vivid detail as in Stephen R. Bown's exciting new telling.
The Company started out small in 1670, trading practical manufactured goods for furs with the Indigenous inhabitants of inland subarctic Canada. Controlled by a handful of English aristocrats, it expanded into a powerful political force that ruled the lives of many thousands of people--from the lowlands south and west of Hudson Bay, to the tundra, the great plains, the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific northwest. It transformed the culture and economy of many Indigenous groups and ended up as the most important political and economic force in northern and western North America.
When the Company was faced with competition from French traders in the 1780s, the result was a bloody corporate battle, the coming of Governor George Simpson--one of the greatest villains in Canadian history--and the Company assuming political control and ruthless dominance. By the time its monopoly was rescinded after two hundred years, the Hudson's Bay Company had reworked the entire northern North American world.
Stephen R. Bown has a scholar's profound knowledge and understanding of the Company's history, but wears his learning lightly in a narrative as compelling, and rich in well-drawn characters, as a page-turning novel.