Bryn Hammond's Reviews > War Before Civilization: The Myth of the Peaceful Savage

War Before Civilization by Lawrence H. Keeley
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's review
Jan 06, 2015

it was amazing
bookshelves: world-history

Another book that changed my life and thoughts. It's fairly skimpy, and old, and I almost didn't bother, when I set out to research early war. Now it's my bible on the topic: the book I most trust, learnt most from. The answer (how violent were we in the past?) isn't simple: oh we were bloody, but not because we enjoyed to be. He uses much evidence from early-style societies that have survived into the modern age, with people who can tell us firsthand their attitudes to war and combat. And what they say opens or often pops your eyes.

In spite of the subtitle and blurb (sensational, and cynical, for the public) you learn the most bloodthirsty natives want peace, which is almost impossible to organise, and have nightmares about combat. It gives you heart, in fact, although no lies.
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