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The Invention Of Peace And The Reinvention Of War: Reflections on War and International Order Paperback – 23 Apr 2001

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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books; New Ed edition (23 April 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1861973268
  • ISBN-13: 978-1861973269
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,747,477 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Amazon Review

"War appears to be as old as mankind, but peace is a modern invention," claimed Sir Henry Maine in the middle of the 19th century. In his short, polemic book The Invention of Peace: Reflections on War and International Order, Michael Howard develops Maine's argument, and while not completely endorsing it, he convincingly argues that peace "is certainly a far more complex affair than war".

At just over a hundred pages, The Invention of Peace is more of an essay than a book, and its massive historical sweep will undoubtedly irritate some readers. Beginning in 800 AD, when war "was recognised as an intrinsic part of the social order", to 2000 AD, where "militant nationalist movements or conspiratorial ones" suggest that in the near future "armed conflict becomes highly probable". However, Howard's credentials for writing this type of macro reflection on war and international relations are impeccable. Having fought in Italy during the Second World War, he has held several chairs of History and War Studies, and remains the President of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. His many books include War in European History and a translation of Clausewitz's classic On War. With such qualifications it is hardly surprising that Howard remains tied to the beliefs of the European Enlightenment, whilst also acknowledging that "the peace invented by the thinkers of the Enlightenment, an international order in which war plays no part, had been a common enough aspiration for visionaries throughout history, but it has been regarded by political leaders as a practicable or indeed desirable goal only during the past two hundred years". As Howard thoughtfully picks his way through the complex negotiations throughout European history which led to the brief eruption of peace into an otherwise uninterrupted state of war, he hopes that "Kant was right, and that, whatever else may happen, 'a seed of enlightenment' will always survive". Let's hope that he's right. --Jerry Brotton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Michael Howard has been Professor of War Studies at King's College, London, Chichele Professor of History of War and Regius Professor of Modern History at Oxford, and Robert A. Lovett Professor of Military and Naval History at Yale.

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