War Before Civilization

War Before Civilization

3.98 (262 ratings by Goodreads)
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The myth of the peace-loving "noble savage" is persistent and pernicious. Indeed, for the last fifty years, most popular and scholarly works have agreed that prehistoric warfare was rare, harmless, unimportant, and, like smallpox, a disease of civilized societies alone. Prehistoric warfare, according to this view, was little more than a ritualized game, where casualties were limited and the effects of aggression relatively mild. Lawrence Keeley's groundbreaking War Before Civilization offers a devastating rebuttal to such comfortable myths and debunks the notion that warfare was introduced to primitive societies through contact with civilization (an idea he denounces as "the pacification of the past"). Building on much fascinating archeological and historical research and offering an astute comparison of warfare in civilized and prehistoric societies, from modern European nations to the Plains Indians of North America, War Before Civilization convincingly demonstrates that prehistoric warfare was in fact more deadly, more frequent, and more ruthless than modern war. To support this point, Keeley provides a wide-ranging look at warfare and brutality in the prehistoric world.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 259 pages
  • 162.56 x 238.76 x 27.94mm | 589.67g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • halftones, line figures and tables throughout, bibliography
  • 0195091124
  • 9780195091120

About Lawrence H. Keeley

About the Author: Lawrence H. Keeley is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. A graduate of Oxford University, he has contributed articles to Scientific American and Nature, and has appeared in documentaries that have run on PBS, The Discovery Channel, and The Learning Channel. He lives in Oak Park, Illinois with his wife and son.show more

Rating details

262 ratings
3.98 out of 5 stars
5 34% (88)
4 40% (105)
3 19% (50)
2 6% (16)
1 1% (3)
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