War in Human Civilization

War in Human Civilization

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Why do people go to war? Is it rooted in human nature or is it a late cultural invention? How does war relate to the other fundamental developments in the history of human civilization? And what of war today - is it a declining phenomenon or simply changing its shape? In this truly global study of war and civilization, Azar Gat sets out to find definitive answers to these questions in an attempt to unravel the 'riddle of war' throughout human history, from the early hunter-gatherers right through to the unconventional terrorism of the twenty-first century. In the process, the book generates an astonishing wealth of original and fascinating insights on all major aspects of humankind's remarkable journey through the ages, engaging a wide range of disciplines, from anthropology and evolutionary psychology to sociology and political science. Written with remarkable verve and clarity and wholly free from jargon, it will be of interest to anyone who has ever pondered the puzzle of war.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 848 pages
  • 166 x 234 x 54mm | 1,378.93g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 50 integrated halftones
  • 0199262136
  • 9780199262137
  • 968,771

About Azar Gat

Azar Gat is Ezer Weitzman Professor of National Security in the Department of Political Science at Tel Aviv University. He has published widely in the field of military strategy and thought, including A History of Military Thought: From the Enlightenment to the Cold War, also published by Oxford University Press, and has taught and lectured at Freiburg, Oxford, Yale, Ohio State, and Georgetown universities.show more

Table of contents

PART ONE: WARFARE IN THE FIRST TWO MILLION YEARS: ENVIRONMENT, GENES, AND CULTURE; 1. The Human 'State of Nature'; 2. Peaceful or Warlike: Did Hunter-Gatherers Fight?; 3. Why Fighting? The Evolutionary Perspective; 4. Motivation: Food and Sex; 5. Motivation: the Web of Desire; 6. 'Primitive Warfare': How Was It Done?; 7. Conclusion: Fighting in the Evolutionary State of Nature; PART TWO: AGRICULTURE, CIVILIZATION, AND WAR; 8. Introduction: Evolving Cultural Complexity; 9. Tribal Warfare in Agraria and Pastoralia; 10. Armed Force in the Formation of the State; 11. The Eurasian Spearhead: East, West, and Steppe; 12. Conclusion: War, the Leviathan, and the Pleasures and Miseries of Civilization; PART THREE: MODERNITY: THE DUAL FACE OF JANUS; 13. Introduction: the Explosion of Wealth and Power; 14. Guns and Markets: the New European States and a Global World; 15. Unbound and Bound Prometheus: Machine-Age War; 16. Affluent Liberal Democracies, Ultimate Weapons, and the World; 17. Conclusion: Unravelling the Riddle of Warshow more

Review quote

...a towering and triumphant achievement...acute, scholarly, and wide-ranging:it is certainly one of the most important works on the subject written since 1945. Gat is at the top of his brilliant form, linking a variety of disciplines in a rich and comprehensive study of this most pertinent of issues. Richard Holmes, The London Review of Books, Vol 29, No 5 An immensely ambitious work covering not only history but archaeology, anthropology, ethnography, demography and economics, to name but a few... its weight of learning is borne aloft by the author's enthusiasm for his subject and takes his readers with it. If only there were more scholars like this! Michael Howard, TLS Books of the Year There's any amount of fascinating insight to be found in this big and enormously ambitious interdisciplinary study. The Scotsman A book of extraordinary ambition, erudition and range... Every student of war will be obliged to engage with this remarkable piece of scholarship. Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman, King's College, London A work of extraordinary scope and formidable erudition... Gat definitively unravels the riddle of civilization and war. Professor Robert J. Lieber, Georgetown University A towering and triumphant achievement... acute, scholarly, and wide-ranging: it is certainly one of the most important works on the subject written since 1945. Gat is at the top of his brilliant form, linking a variety of disciplines in a rich and comprehensive study of this most pertinent of issues. Professor Richard Holmesshow more