War: What is it good for?: The role of conflict in civilisation, from primates to robots

War: What is it good for?: The role of conflict in civilisation, from primates to robots


By (author) Ian Morris

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  • Publisher: Profile Books Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 448 pages
  • Dimensions: 153mm x 234mm x 36mm | 661g
  • Publication date: 3 April 2014
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1781252963
  • ISBN 13: 9781781252963
  • Sales rank: 54,595

Product description

War is one of the greatest human evils. It has ruined livelihoods, provoked unspeakable atrocities and left countless millions dead. It has caused economic chaos and widespread deprivation. And the misery it causes poisons foreign policy for future generations. But, argues bestselling historian Ian Morris, in the very long term, war has in fact been a good thing. In his trademark style combining inter-disciplinary insights, scientific methods and fascinating stories, Morris shows that, paradoxically, war is the only human invention that has allowed us to construct peaceful societies. Without war, we would never have built the huge nation-states which now keep us relatively safe from random acts of violence, and which have given us previously unimaginable wealth. It is thanks to war that we live longer and more comfortable lives than ever before. And yet, if we continue waging war with ever-more deadly weaponry, we will destroy everything we have achieved; so our struggles to manage warfare make the coming decades the most decisive in the history of our civilisation. In War: What Is It Good For? Morris brilliantly dissects humanity's history of warfare to draw startling conclusions about our future.

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Author information

Ian Morris is Willard Professor of Classics, Professor of History and a fellow of the Archaeology Centre at Stanford University. He is the bestselling author of Why the West Rules - For Now and has appeared on a number of television networks, including the History Network and PBS.

Review quote

Morris is the world's most talented ancient historian -- Niall Ferguson Praise for Why the West Rules - For Now: 'A great work of synthesis and argument, drawing together an awesome range of materials and authorities -- Andrew Marr A provocative and extraordinary contribution to wide-screen comparative history ... a true banquet of ideas. -- Boyd Tonkin Independent One doffs one's hat to Morris's breadth, ambition and erudition Sunday Times An astonishing work -- David S. Landes, author of The Wealth and Poverty of Nations