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on 28 June 2017
The book is the main reading material at my university. The book is all right, very interesting way to talk about war history. However, definitely not the best book for starter, as the book presume reader has certain amount of knowledge(moral philosophy, international law, some famous war history). It is more like a argumentative book, rather than a text book.
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on 17 April 2017
Really interesting
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on 15 April 2017
As described and on time thank you
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on 29 January 2010
Interesting book, but although the examples mentioned do nicely buttress 20'th Century 'morality'; they are overwhelmingly drawn from recent times. This means the liberalistic attitudes contained are wildly at variance with normal historical precedent, and more importantly; don't include any period of meaningful historic change. Two far more relevant examples are shown below:-

1. On New Year's Eve 406AD, in the depths of an unusually bitter winter several German tribes, driven by starvation; followed a Vandal warband across the frozen Rhein River into the Roman Empire; which they then looted for food, clothing, etc.... for several years. This action ultimately led to the destruction of the Western Roman Empire and the foundation of modern Europe, as it revealed to the Germanic peoples both their own power and Rome's weakness. From the opinions expressed within this publication it would appear these worldchanging events should be judged 'unjust'; and the Germanic warriors should simply have been told to stay home and watch their families freeze/starve?

2. Made invincible by the words of the Prophet they revered; between the years 622AD and 750AD, Islamic armies conquered first the Arabian Peninsula; then attacked and took Egypt, Syria, North Africa, Armenia, Constantinople, Sicily and Southern Italy from the Byzantine Romans; the Iberian Peninsula from the Visigoths; Iraq, Persia, Afganistan and the Indus Valley from the Sassanid Persian Empire; fought their way up into France, and even took a large slice of central Asia from the Chinese. The result of this 'Holy War' was the utter destruction of the previous cultures, along with possibly millions of their predominently Christian inhabitants; and creation of the Islamic World we see today. From the guidelines given, all these conquests would also clearly have been 'unjust'; but exactly how would those Islamic armies have been persuaded to cease their 'unjust' behaviour?

We all know of many other examples, from ancient times to the modern day; but I think I make my point. As explained clearly by Plato some 2,500 years ago, the very concept of 'just/unjust' war is an absurdity. Since primordial times, the clans, tribes, nations, and races of humanity have been locked in a never-ending Darwinian struggle, in which survival is the only real prize. Thus if food was in short supply, the strongest or most vigorous tribe would take it, if neccessary at the point of a spear; surviving the famine at the expense of the losers, who quite often 'disappeared' from history. As humanities scientific wisdom increased, this knowledge was largely employed to produce ever more effective weaponry, muskets, cannon, galleons, aircraft, tanks, rockets etc..... which, when needed could/can be employed to defend or take the neccessities needed for survival.

Throughout the ages, those unable or unwilling to compete successfully in this ruthless struggle for life have inevitably been erradicated in short order. Just a few examples include the Neanderthals, Phillistines, Carthaginians, Romans(having become degenerate), Aztecs, and North America's Indian tribes.

Leon Trotsky summed this up nicely when he explained:- "You may have no interest in war my friend; but war has a very great interest in you.". Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument with Historical Illustrations
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on 15 June 2001
This book revived interest to just war theory and created influential debate about moral permissibility of war. Walzer develops his own theory about just war theory. It can be summarized as: War is just when it is fought only as a) self-defence b) in order to create country for a nation under foreign rule c) counter-intervention in order to repeal effect of original foreign intervention d) humanitarian intervention to stop grave an widespread human right violations. Walzer stresses also importance of rule of non-combatant immunity. Book is easy to read, without difficult terminology and it has many illustrative historical examples. I recommend this book to all who are interested in morality of war.
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on 23 July 1999
This is an erudite work examining the philosophical subtelties and ethical issues that war evokes. Any one seriously interested in war, applied ethics, political philosophy, and international relations should be familiar with the arguments Walzer uses. The historical examples are standard dilemmas and problems which are useful in class discussions in philosophy as well as history. The only critique I have of the book (which I often use for my own philosophical writing) is that Walzer's ethical examination of war ends with nuclear war--in this I think he is wrong, we should not stop our analysis even with the nightmare scenario of a holocaust, for that is to give the moral hand over to those who would use nuclear arms. The book is challenging and insightful and deserves further reprints.
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on 14 August 2011
At first sight, I did not like Walzers book. I found his frequent citations of novels, essays etc. unnecessarily pompous and somewhat annoying. However, Walzers book is actually by no means inaccessible to the casual reader, and his analysis is in general clear and properly thought out.

Walzer considers many aspects of the ethics of war. Most of the book is concerned with the question of when and how wars may be just, although considerable time is also given to the question of how a war - just or unjust - may be fought justly. Among Walzers historical examples are the Franco-Prussian war, The six-day war, the Vietnam war, the Korean war and World war II. His themes range widely, including when agression in the face of anticipation is justified, when interventions in already existing wars are justified, whether humanitarian interventions are justified, to name a few. Walzer also considers the rather interesting cases of guerilla war and terrorism, and gives a good deal of attention to the question of justifying civilian casualties.

Walzers book is not meant to be, and cannot in any sense be considered, the final word on the ethics of war. Several of Walzers arguments may be applied to other of his historical cases to obtain different conclusions - one prominent example is the bombing of German cities during the second world war, which seems rather similar to terrorism.

What can be said definitively, however, is that Walzers book is generally well-written and well-argued, provides ample food for thought and clearly illustrates many of the dilemmas of war which are sensed by most people by casual inspection, but which may be difficult to elucidate without considerable thought.
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on 2 May 2010
Just and unjust wars is a comprehensive look at all the aspects of the just war theory. Though one could say that Walzer has a somewhat narrow view, on the whole it is a very complete introduction into the field. Nearly every other book I have read on just war theory, links back to this book.
Very comprehensive.
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on 31 March 2016
Excellent book and very accessible, unlike some other philosophical works. I particularly like the writing style with its use of interesting examples and wide literary sources including poetry and classical literature. So many other books only reference other philosophy books.
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on 28 December 2013
This book is informative and relevant to the modern world we live in, its chapters on military intervention and civil wars have been updated and are more than relevant to the current world situation, well worth a read even by the casual reader.
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