Bachelor of Arts (BA) 1966
Margaret MacMillan tells students she meets that if they follow their intellectual passions and keep learning, they’ll boldly go across boundaries. MacMillan has practiced what she preaches, and it has made her one of the world’s foremost historians.
MacMillan not only attended Trinity College but would serve as provost for five years, starting in 2002. In July 2007, she became the Warden of St. Anthony’s College at Oxford University where she produced a doctoral thesis in the 1970s on the British in India.
Her books have brought her international acclaim. Her award-winning book Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World, is considered one of the most definitive works on the Paris peace conference at the end of World War One. Other books include Women of the Raj and her latest, The Uses and Abuses of History. She will release a new book in autumn 2013.
She told an interviewer after her latest book was published that, “In many ways, people know less and less about the past. But the political leaders say ‘History tells us we must do this.’ So we really do need a good understanding of history to know that Iraq is not exactly like Germany in the 1930s.”
She decided to become an author in the 1960s after reading The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman.
"I read the Guns of August when it first came out. I was an undergraduate at the University of Toronto taking history, which I already loved, but when I read her book I thought this was the way history should be. I found it riveting and I wanted to write like her."
She told an interviewer that her motivation for writing The Uses and Abuses of History was “Why not write something for people who are interested in history? Or even if they’re not, might pick up the book and say, ‘That’s interesting. I hadn’t thought about that.’
"History belongs to everyone. I don’t think you have to give up scholarly standards. But I also don’t think you want to write something that is impenetrable."
Trinity College’s Margaret MacMillan Trinity One program, created in 2005, is limited to 25 students with courses fostering small-group discussions and emphasizing the development of critical thinking, oral presentation, writing and research skills.
Published Nov. 28, 2013