Ideas

History's People: Personalities & The Past, Lecture 5

In the 2015 CBC Massey Lectures, the great Canadian historian Margaret MacMillan explores some of the people - good and bad, dreamers, explorers and adventurers - who have shaped their times and ours. One historian's view of the people of the past who have intrigued, horrified or engaged her.
Count Harry Kessler

In the 2015 CBC Massey Lectures, the great Canadian historian Margaret MacMillan explores some of the people - good and bad, dreamers, explorers and adventurers - who have shaped their times and ours. One historian's view of the people of the past who have intrigued, horrified or engaged her.**This episode originally aired November 6, 2015.


"If history is, as I believe, a feast, the savour comes from its people."

"Our understanding and enjoyment of the past would be impoverished without its individuals, even though we know that history's currents -- its underlying forces and shifts, whether of technology or political structures or social values -- must never be ignored.

 

Babur, the first Mughal emperor of India, kept a journal that shows a complex world with many interconnections and influences. It speaks to us across the centuries, as do the journals and memoirs of so many others -- often people on the margins of great events: Marcel Trudel give us a portrait of the evolution of a country; Count Harry Kessler knew everyone, the Zelig of his times; Victor Klemperer writes from the heart of Nazi Germany. History's people illuminate the complexities of the human race, and make us aware of the possibilities for good and evil we all possess.




 

Watch Chapter 6 "Vision, Seeing the Chessboard" from the web series and TV special "The Art Leading" by Margaret MacMillan
Like Napoleon on the battlefield, the best leaders can always see several moves ahead — and improvise when circumstances change. 5:26

 

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