Read in a day. Remember for a lifetime.
In this addition to the bestselling ‘shortest history’ series, acclaimed historian and military expert Gwynne Dyer tells the story of war from its prehistoric – perhaps pre-human – origins up to the present age of algorithms and atom bombs.
Dyer chronicles the spread of warfare in the first cities; the inexorable rise of inequality and tyranny as human societies grow; the millennium-long classical age of combat ended by the carnage of the Thirty Years’ War; and the brief ensuing interlude of ‘limited war’ before the popular revolutions of the 18th century ushered in an era of total war – itself abruptly halted by Hiroshima.
The final chapters deal with the precarious equilibrium of the past 75 years – the longest period of peace
between major powers in modern history – and the looming threats of nuclear proliferation, superpower rivalry and climate change.
This vivid, clear-sighted book is vital reading for anyone who wants to understand the role of war in the long human story: why we do it – and how we can stop.
Gwynne Dyer has worked as a freelance journalist, columnist, broadcaster and lecturer on international affairs for several decades. His twice-weekly column on international affairs is published by 175 papers in some 45 countries and is translated into more than a dozen languages. He lives in London, where he is working on a new book about geo-engineering.