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Causes of Wars Rev (Paper Only) Paperback – 1 Jul 1984

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press; 2 Enlarged edition (1 July 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067410417X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674104174
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.9 x 21 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 918,750 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Standard International Relations Textbook on How Wars Begin 22 Jun 2005
By Rodney J. Szasz - Published on
Format: Paperback
There is a lot of muddle about why wars start... with the average bloke on the street and (sadly) the average soldier, saying that "it is all inevitable" or "part of human nature."

In Howard's book this is clearly not the case... he explores a number of classical reasons for the causes of war, from the classical liberal interpretation (wars are caused by misunderstandings) to that of realists (power politics and need for balance of power), in between there is adequate consideration and historical detail of other reasoned explanations for war, including consideration of the Marxist analysis of the causes of war (perhaps now thoroughly irrelevant), and the fascist notion of might=right.

Howard's style is academic but never boring and he accepts nothing at face value, or as being inevitable. In one of the better quotes from this book he states that "nothing is inevitable until it happens" -- I think that is the lesson of this book. We make the decisions that either lead or avoid war. Sometimes the causes are not directly attributable to a single source. We control our own destiny.

Having said that I think that Howard is really a liberal synthesis sort of academic. He is really into the importance of interpreting and sending clear messages (something that Nixon and Kissinger and even Clinton were good at). He cautions against the temptations of ideology and has the classic liberal notion that nation states only achieve their freedoms when they fight for it themselves. No nation can ever be given freedom. Therefore he would not be in favour of the kind of ideologically driven foreign policy of the current Bush adminstration.

Like most traditional liberals and conservatives he would be against the rather bombastic ideological leadership which is losing American yet another war and speeding its global decline.
Great book 21 Oct 2014
By Christopher S Bose - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great book for war historians.
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