Find out more about longlisted author Margaret MacMillan
How does it feel to reach the longlist for the Samuel Johnson Prize?
Wonderful but of course nerve-wracking.
What research did you do for writing your book?
Lots and lots. There have been huge amounts written on the outbreak of the First World War and big collections of documents published as well as memoirs and diaries so I felt that I didn’t need to spend as much time in archives as I have for other books. And, unless I am wrong, I don’t think there are crucial caches of documents on the outbreak that haven’t yet been explored.
How do you feel about the status/ popularity of non-fiction books in general?
Non-fiction is as popular as it ever was. There seems to be an insatiable appetite for biography and, I am glad to see, for narrative history.
What is your favourite non-fiction book and why?
Impossible to answer but one of my favourite biographies of all time is David Cecil on Lord Melbourne. He writes so beautifully and with such a keen sense of the man and the times. A perfect match between author and subject.
What are you working on next?
All I know is that I want to do a very short book. I am toying with several ideas which are all rather shapeless at the moment but one is to look at the role of emotions in history.
Margaret MacMillan is the author of The War That Ended Peace (Profile Books)