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A History of Warfare.

John Keegan is Britain's foremost military historian and is the Defence Editor of the Daily Telegraph. A History of Warfare is his first book since the publication of The Second World War in 1989, which was without doubt the most comprehensive single-volume account of the 1939-45 conflict in recent years.

A History of Warfare is the fruit of a lifetime's research. This brilliantly readable book is an analysis of world history and a controversial interpretation of warfare, from the Stone Age to Saddam Hussein. John Keegan believes that warfare is not simply a continuation of politics, but that it is in man's fundamental nature to fight. Life has always been a battle for survival, and war is at the heart of human society. He also argues that, over the years, conflict has been the main engine for change -- political, economic, social and artistic -- by which all societies have developed.

And so what is war? Why are more wars breaking out in the modern world than ever before? The horrors of the current crisis in the former Yugoslavia, as incomprehensible as they are to the civilised mind, defy explanation in conventional military terms. And the pattern of local hatreds they reveal are unfamiliar to anyone but the professional anthropologists who take the warfare of tribal and marginal peoples as their subject of study. But most intelligent newspaper readers today, who have understandably been shocked by the reports brought to them by journalists in the Balkans, will no doubt be struck by the parallels to be drawn with the behaviour of pre-state peoples described in this book.

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Author:Wright, Esmond
Publication:Contemporary Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jan 1, 1994
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