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War in Human Civilization

4.42  ·  Rating Details ·  130 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Why do people go to war? Is it rooted in human nature or is it a late cultural invention? How does war relate to the other fundamental developments in the history of human civilization? And what of war today--is it a declining phenomenon or simply changing its shape?
In this sweeping study of war and civilization, Azar Gat sets out to find definitive answers to these quest
Paperback, 822 pages
Published April 15th 2008 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 2006)
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د. حمدان
الحرب في حضارة الإنسان – عزار غات

عزار غات هو باحث وكاتب إسرائيلي من مواليد عام 1957 ويعمل حالياً كبروفيسور متخصص في الأمن القومي في جامعة تل أبيب وهو في ذات الوقت برتبة مايجور في الجيش الإسرائيلي. اشتهر ككاتب في شؤون الحرب بسبب كتابه هذا "الحرب في حضارة الإنسان" والذي اختارته دورية التايمز للأدب كواحد من أفضل كتب عام 2006.

أذكر جيداً حين كنتُ لا زلتُ في الجامعة وقد دسّ في عقلي أستاذ لي فكرة أن هناك شبهاً ما بيني وبين كافكا.. موحياً لي بأن أكتب عنه بحثاً. في ذلك الوقت لم أكن أعرف عن كافكا شيئاً،
Jun 06, 2013 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A massive tome that cuts through all of human history, "combining biology, anthropology, archaeology, history, sociology, and political science - and ranging from the origins of our species to the current threat of terrorism." Conclusion: War has always been with us from the depths of pre-history until the ultra-peaceful democracies of today. Its not going away despite the best intentions and hopes of peace loving modern society. However, the dawn of the Industrial Age has wrought amazing change ...more
Nov 15, 2013 Eric rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Azar Gat takes on one of the most fundamental questions regarding human history and nature: why do we fight? In trying to find an answer, Gat covers a broad range of disciplines (history, archaeology, psychology, sociology, genetics). He clearly demonstrates that war, contrary to being an aberration brought on by civilization, has been a part of humanity's existence since the beginning. Even though the weapons and the nature of war's destructiveness have changed, the underlying motivations have ...more
Joseph Stieb
Dec 31, 2014 Joseph Stieb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In War in Human Civilization, Azar Gat tackles two major questions about war. First, what are the essential reasons why humans fight wars? Second, how have the motivations, practices, and lethality of war changed as human civilization has transformed over time? Although the book is a challenging read given its length and dense writing, Gat offers much illumination on these and other questions.
Gat received his Ph.D in history and he now teaches political science at Tel Aviv University. War in Hum
Jan 06, 2015 Joshua rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: military-history
This is a massive and fatiguing book to read. Weighing in at 673 pages it is definitely an endurance test to make it all the way through. Azar Gat admits in the preface that he designed this book not only for scholars but also for the interested reader walking into Barnes and Noble or shopping on Amazon for a book on war. I'm sure this book has made wide circulation among scholarly circles. However, I doubt seriously that many other readers will take the time and energy to make it past the first ...more
Azar Gat War in Human Civilization is an excellent deep history of war that extends far back before civilization began and right up to the date of publication.

Gat's analysis is biocultural: taking into account evolutionary and cultural strategies and behaviors. Cultural or Biological Determinist will not care for the reading, but War in Human Civilization (as though there was another form of civilization) is the best single volume history of war as a human enterprise available at this time.

Bob Adamcik
Feb 10, 2017 Bob Adamcik rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You can read my review here:
Nov 09, 2009 Maureen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, anthropology
very dense, very well researched study of the history of human militarism.. especially interesting the collation of data regarding pre-historic use of violence as a tool for access to and distribution of resources. Author explicates well the key roles of pastoralism and sedentarist agriculture in formalizing the rudiments of war-making The role of military action in state formation, and the state is a machine for war, is powerfully laid out. The sheer bulk of the data points to the historic nece ...more
Feb 26, 2013 Deepay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Why war? The author collects and present a large body of evidence saying that war exists because it is adaptive, and has been so over a long period of time and in many regions of the world. The breadth of reference and the general thoroughness of writing are impressive. However, many behaviors are explained as being holdovers from a time when they were adaptive, and one must make one's own judgement about the strength of that argument.
Mar 23, 2015 Marcus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In a debate full of ideology and scholarly politics, this book manages to talk about war without the most common pitfalls and shortcomings. Maybe because it is project oriented (war) rather than part of an existent academic tradition, it manages to integrate a variety of insights from different areas of knowledge.

It has a kind of "Freakonomics effect", offering amazing insights.
Nov 10, 2007 Dan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Cultural Anthroplogists
I'm in the process ofreading it so far, so I'll update this when it's done, but so far it's very good. Similar idea to Guns, Germs and Steel, conceptually at least. Obviously Gat's ideas are very different, but the analysis is similar.
Victoria Ferauge
Nov 05, 2013 Victoria Ferauge rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philo-politics
Brilliant book. Clear arguments supporting all his points that are comprehensible (even enjoyable) to the general reader. Not entirely convinced of the kin/culture tie but it certainly gave me a lot to think about.
May 15, 2012 Jani-Petri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very clear, well written, and thoughtful book on the use of violence through out human history.
Jeffrey Cavanaugh
Probably the best single-volume work you will find on the subject. Should be required reading for any serious undergraduate or graduate-level course on war.
Chris Harvey
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“Deeply entrenched fantasies and persistent, most cherished illusions can at least partly be explained as ‘bugs’ or ‘viruses’ in, or ‘mis-activations’ of, our sophisticated and highly sensitive intellectual software, which is driven but also easily disrupted by, and addicted to, our restless and insatiable need for meaning, order, control, and reassurance.” 0 likes
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