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Why Nations Go to War
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Why Nations Go to War

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  338 ratings  ·  28 reviews
Transmitting an understanding of warfare from World War I to the present, WHY NATIONS GO TO WAR, a unique book and a product of reflection by author, John G. Stoessinger, is built around ten case studies, culminating in the new wars that ushered in the twenty-first century: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the wars between Arabs and Israelis in Gaza and in Lebanon. The distinguishin ...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published January 23rd 2007 by Cengage Learning (first published 1978)
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This classic of the undergraduate international relations course (where I read it) is actually a pretty neat little book. Of course the underlying theory (that war reason for war is largely related to the personality and personal issues of the countries leaders at the time of the war) is deeply, deeply flawed* but its brief historical breakdowns make a for a good introduction or refresher on the major conflicts of the 20th century .

Stoessinger takes most of the major conflicts of the 20th centur
This is an informative and provocative book. Stoessinger goes through the largest wars of the 20th century and discusses the motivations and rationales of the world leaders that decided to turn against each other. He starts with the Kaiser in World War I and ends with President Bush and the neoconservatives going into Afghanistan and Iraq. Studying world history before, World War I has commonly been presented to me as being caused by large social factors like jingoism, the cult of the offensive, ...more
I stole this book from my roommate who is reading it for one of his classes, and I was surprised by how much I liked it. I really enjoyed the way that the author considered specific people and personalities in his analyses of the events that lead up to wars and other momentous events rather than attributing them to "the forces of history" or some other vague concept. People start wars, not destiny or the forces of nature. I was especially struck by this approach in his discussion of WWI, where h ...more
Read this during my college days and just reread my daughters updated edition. WHAT A GREAT BOOK! Perfect as an introduction (or catch up) on what has been happening around the world.

This latest edition does have quite an "author's slant". Stoessinger must be getting impatient with what he sees as mistakes by statesmen and despots. He comes right out with judgment calls on the Iraq war. He is blunt in his opinions.
This was an old textbook from way back in the day that I kept because I always wanted to finish the sections that weren't actually assigned reading. Probably not the most in-depth analysis of global conflict, but as an overview it's top-notch. Stoessinger creates a compelling argument that war is never inevitable, and that the ultimate responsibility for conflict will always come down to individuals.
Feb 02, 2011 Mimi rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: adult
I read an older edition of this book (published in 1993, I believe). I am interested to see that he has more recent editions, and I wonder what his opinions on more recent wars are.

This book was very enlightening, and I am glad to have read it. Some parts were very difficult, as in they were heart breaking. I never like being reminded of the horrors of war, and I was especially saddened to learn of the atrocities committed to the Iraqi people by the Iraqi people. I had never realized before how
Michael Griswold
Why Nations Go To War has become an iconic text in the study of war and peace. The tenth edition of the text includes chapters on the United States post 9-11 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the results of which are still unfolding before us. Stossenger's historical case studies from WW1 to present are readable and yet full of depth, which made the 432 pages that comprise this book just fly by as the reader is taking on a tragic journey into each presidents or dictators war room. The conclusions he ...more
Didn't get to complete the part on wars between the Jews and the Arabs - my library issue date came early. Anyway, Excellent book on the history of major wars fought in the world and why. Very conclusive and precise notes. Highly recommended.
Wars are started by people and leaders not ideologies.
Usually they are guised under causes such as fundamentalism, or such -isms.

Wars are wretched excuse for exercising power and greed.
Wars are based on themes of inevitability and pervasiveness.
A fatalistic attitude is portrayed.
By shifting responsibility to impersonal ideologies or God, the leaders are able to transfer the guilt or obligations of the action of war.
They are veiled and disguised even romanticized by leaders who possess charis
This is one of my "textbooks" for Post WWII History. I really liked the layout and execution of events (dominantly wars) internationally dealt with. It gave me a much better understanding of how certain wars started and why they came about and who was involved and what each leader was all about and why they did the things they did. Stoessinger does an excellent job laying out the facts as well as making it comprehensible and important for readers to know and remember.
A really well organized introduction to some of the modern era's most important wars, this book really goes best within a classroom setting, but it's actually a good read as a stand alone book. If you ever wanted to know why Israel, Iraq, Korea, The United States, and a bunch of other countries have done some of the crazy stuff they've done, this might be a good one for you to look into.
Why nations go to war is an outstanding book. The author demonstrates how WW1 could have been avoided. He also argues how if it had, the alliance system (credited with starting the war) would have been credited for preventing it. I enjoyed getting to know the leaders who start wars. I enjoyed reading on why they started the wars. The authors personal history is a nice story in the book as well.
This is a great book if you have any interest in the major conflicts of the 20th Century. Each chapter is a concise history of the events leading up to that conflict. I just re-read the chapter on the Arab-Israeli conflict after the recent speeches by President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu. Even though my copy is the 4th edition from 1985, it was enlightening.
Jun 15, 2008 Eugene rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: doves and hawks
Not a political science student? It's cool. But this book really has some resonance for our modern time, and a great ay to understand the conflicts present and those to come. He's a brilliant man who leads with his heart and hopes for mankind, never is the substantiveness compromised.
A.L. Sowards
This is the best textbook I have ever been assigned to read for a class. I kept it when the class was done. If you want to learn more about the major conflicts of the 20th century, this is a great place to start. (I have the 8th edition)
An awesome book for anyone interested in the causes of war. Stoessinger focuses exclusively on the wars of the 20th century. I bought it for a class which I did not end up taking, but I read it anyway. Yeah, it was that good!
Alexander Francis
This was a fairly good book. It was much less technical than I would have liked and seemed to contain a lot of opinions. It gave good insight on who was involved and it was at least interesting to read.
Chris Brimmer
Brilliant, lucid and facinating. Rarely does one read an assigned book cover to cover in one night. It has gone into many editions and I re-read it every time one comes out.
Clear and concise writing, and excellent basic 20th century history text for everyone. This book got me through my IB History course.
One of the first books I've had to read for school that doesn't make me want to beat my head into a wall every time I pick it up
Quite readable. the premise is sort of a no-brainer, but the book effectively teaches some recent history.
Good for LameBrains like me who know nothing about nothing and need to start somewhere.
Star Shining Forever
Very readable, but as someone else commented, "short on theory, except for his own."
enlightening for someone who knows nothing about the wars of the 20th century.
Very accessible, though at times a little dry and ethnocentric.
Trent Mcfadyen
Well researched and interesting lessons in history.
Gabrielle Kim
The chapter on Saddam Hussein is... emotionally heated.
I was amazed by how World War I started.
Panagiotis Bakalis
Panagiotis Bakalis marked it as to-read
Nov 19, 2014
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