A brilliant and vitally important history of why states go to war, by the acclaimed, award-winning author of The Peloponnesian War.
War has been a fact of life for centuries. By lucidly revealing the common threads that connect the ancient confrontations between Athens and Sparta and between Rome and Carthage with the two calamitous World Wars of the twentieth century, renowned historian Donald Kagan reveals new and surprising insights into the nature of war and peace. Vivid, incisive, and accessible, Kagan’s powerful narrative warns against complacency and urgently reminds us of the importance of preparedness in times of peace.
Donald Kagan is Sterling Professor of Classics and History at Yale University. His four-volume History of the Peloponnesian War is the leading scholarly work on the subject. He is also the author of many books on ancient and modern topics.
“A particularly timely masterpiece . . . brilliantly examines the origins of four major, devastating conflicts.”—Los Angeles
“Humane and penetrating . . . Kagan shows how, tragically, measures undertaken precisely to prevent war have in the past repeatedly brought it closer.”—The New Criterion
“By now it is all too clear that the so-called end of history really has meant the return of history, with a vengeance. Recent events regrettably confirm that warfare is inherent to any system of world affair yet imagined, so we better do all we can to prevent it. Professor Kagan’s impressive volume presents thoughts that are timely, intellectually deep, and just about indispensable.”—George P. Schultz, Former U.S. Secretary of State