For over 12,000 years human beings have warred, slaughtering each other with persistence and brutality. From spear point to thermonuclear ordnance, human ingenuity has had a serious downside. In the 20th century alone, wars claimed more than 90 million lives. Yet war's origins, meaning, and evolution over the millennium remain to this day a mystery. Why is warfare "almost" as old as man himself? How is it that a creature capable of producing great art, architecture, literature, medicine, and wondrous acts of compassion is simultaneously capable of such cruel and wanton slaughter? To answer these and other questions, this thoughtful study journeys across time and disciplines to examine and sensibly explain human warfare, clarify its source and driving energy, and thoughtfully develop the prospect of a true and lasting peace.
Praise for The Nature of War: The Origins and Evolution of Violent Conflict
"Stempel argues that violent conflict has been with humanity since the dawn of time, or at least the last 12,000 years. Situated in the same context as works like John Horgan's The End of War (2012), The Nature of War attempts to take the conversation a bit farther to examine the root causes of conflict in order to bring about peace. Xenophobic attitudes, romantic notions of humanity's goodness, and the lust for conquest are at the heart of violent conflict." — D.M. Digrius, Stevens Institute of Technology writing for Choice Current Reviews for Academic Libraries
"This is the most intelligent, penetrating, and insightful study of human warfare I've ever read. The insights will touch you deeply, and even give you the tools to end the inner wars inside us all." --Mark Waldman, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, author of Words Can Change Your Brain