AZAR GAT WAR IN HUMAN CIVILIZATION PDF

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Return to Book Page. In this truly global study, major military historian Azar Gat sets out to unravel the "riddle of war" throughout human history, from the early hunter-gatherers right through to the unconventional terrorism of the twenty-first century.

In the process, the book generates an astonishing wealth of original and fascinating insights on all major aspects of humankind's remarkable In this truly global study, major military historian Azar Gat sets out to unravel the "riddle of war" throughout human history, from the early hunter-gatherers right through to the unconventional terrorism of the twenty-first century. In the process, the book generates an astonishing wealth of original and fascinating insights on all major aspects of humankind's remarkable journey through the ages, engaging a wide range of disciplines.

Get A Copy. Hardcover , pages. More Details Original Title. Other Editions 5. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about War in Human Civilization , please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about War in Human Civilization. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 4. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of War in Human Civilization. Dec 31, Joseph Stieb rated it really liked it. 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 Human Civilization reflects his interdisciplinary career by employing ideas and methods from a variety of science and social science disciplines. Gat needs this expansive toolkit because his essential questions cross disciplinary lines and many of his topics cannot be accessed with only the standard methods of history and political science.

Gat begins with hunter-gatherers and proceeds to the development of tribes, agriculture, chieftainships, states, and ultimately modern forms of politics, economics, and warfare. The examination of hunter-gatherers is especially crucial in establishing his thesis. He grants great significance to hunter-gatherer warfare because Homo sapiens has spent the vast majority of its existence in this mode and the evolutionary mechanisms we developed in this state of nature still deeply influence our behavior today.

Employing insights from archaeology, animal behavior, and modern observations of hunter-gatherers, Gat shows that hunter-gatherers used violence to steal women, kill male competitors and their offspring, and access crucial resources and territory. Rather, violence is one of many tactics humans can employ to satisfy the evolutionary complex, and humans will deploy more or less violence depending upon a variety of factors.

Gat shows how key developments in human cultural evolution, such as agriculture, states, and industrial production, transformed the ways those societies fought. Gat maintains that throughout the cultural evolution of warfare violence has remained instrumental to human goals rather than an end in itself.

He posits that human beings will be more or less violent based on the utility of violence in achieving basic evolutionary goals in different civilizational conditions.

In this vein, he concludes that the frequency and relative lethality of wars has declined in the past few centuries not just because of democratization and shifting values, but because the incentives for using war have lessened under modern civilizational conditions.

These conditions include nuclear weapons, global trade, and reduced tie between force and wealth procurement in the industrialized world. One of his greatest strengths is his ability to break down false dichotomies that have obscured debates about the motivations behind human violence. The most important of these is the debate between social constructionist and biological frameworks. Gat shows that social constructs over which people may fight are derivative of and subordinate to the central objectives of the evolutionary complex.

Humans pursue wealth or political power, for instance, ultimately because they consciously or unconsciously want to secure access to food and reproduction.

Achieving wealth or power are means to those ends. View 2 comments. Jun 06, Jeff rated it really liked it Shelves: history , science , military-history. 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.

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 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. However, the dawn of the Industrial Age has wrought amazing changes on our "cultural evolution" and the future remains murky regarding the dangers and possibilities moving forward.

Nov 15, Eric rated it it was amazing. 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 Azar Gat takes on one of the most fundamental questions regarding human history and nature: why do we fight? Even though the weapons and the nature of war's destructiveness have changed, the underlying motivations have stayed the same. This is a book that sets out to explain war, not describe it, so it may contain more archaeology, political science, evolutionary theory and economics than most readers expect.

I will recommend it to anyone who wants to understand why humans wage wars, from the brutal daylight raids that dominated pre-state human societies almost all of history! It's a bit more of a brick than I knew when I started reading it a disadvantage of eBooks , and I think This is a book that sets out to explain war, not describe it, so it may contain more archaeology, political science, evolutionary theory and economics than most readers expect.

It's a bit more of a brick than I knew when I started reading it a disadvantage of eBooks , and I think ti could have been successfully edited down a bit.

It is, however, unusually dense of facts by a very knowledgeable author. Aug 29, Anjar Priandoyo rated it really liked it Shelves: economics. I always have mixed feeling when giving a review for this kind of book. This book has an interesting idea, that war is the biggest force in human advancement transition, it provides detail evidence since the first Homo 2 million years ago to nuclear war and biological weapon. I am pretty sure will read this more than once and used it as a reference to understan I always have mixed feeling when giving a review for this kind of book.

I am pretty sure will read this more than once and used it as a reference to understand the war in human culture. Maybe the only problem is this book is too big.

May 01, Rudyard L. Mar 21, Stephen Gill rated it it was amazing. An enlightening examination of war. Jan 06, Josh rated it really liked it Shelves: military-history. This is a massive and fatiguing book to read. Weighing in at 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 This is a massive and fatiguing book to read.

However, I doubt seriously that many other readers will take the time and energy to make it past the first pages. That's not to say that the book is poorly conceived or executed—it's simply too overwhelming for anyone but the dedicated minority. This is essentially a book about human history that uses an evolutionary framework to explain the origins of violent competition i.

Gat actually advances a fairly simple argument for why humans often resort to violence well, it seems simple and I hope I don't oversimplify his argument. Humans are hard-wired through the calculus of survival and reproduction the unforgiving essence of natural selection to pursue an array of strategies to secure resources, women, and the survival of their species.

Peaceful means certainly exist to achieve these ends. All other motives for war—including honor, nationalism, religion and ideology, etc.

In modern times, though, these secondary elements have become more salient while resource abundance has obscured for a contemporary audience the fundamental rationale for war.

Increasing globalization of the economy and economic interdependence have made the benefits of peace outweigh the potential rewards of warfare and have, especially within liberal democracies of the west, exercised a depressing effect on the occurrence and duration of wars. Throughout the book Gat's writing is precise and clear. He does has a tendency to repeat himself throughout the various chapters and section introductions and conclusions.

I feel certain that Gat could have written this book in pages, rather than You'll find that in the beginning chapters he draws mostly on evolutionary theory, anthropology, and archaeology while in the later chapters he pulls heavily from international relations, political science, and sociology to explain political developments.

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War in Human Civilization

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 questions in an attempt to unravel the riddle of war throughout human history, from the early hunter-gatherers right through to the unconventional terrorism of the twenty-first century.

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The past, we say, is a foreign country; they do things differently there. If our natures are fixed in some way, then what should we do to improve our lot? When the first modern challenge was issued—by the Sociobiologists of the s—they had the latter I would say , but not the former. Azar Gat is a good example.

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Historians don't generally like the idea of "human nature". We tend to believe that people are intrinsically malleable, that they have no innate "drives," "instincts," or "motivations. The past, we say, is a foreign country; they do things differently there. If our natures are fixed in some way, then what should we do to improve our lot? When the first modern challenge was issued—by the Sociobiologists of the s—they had the latter I would say , but not the former. Azar Gat is a good example. In his pathbreaking War in Human Civilization Oxford UP, , he explains in politically palatable and empirically convincing terms just why, evolutionarily speaking, our evolved natures guided the way we have fought over the past , years.

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I have been working my way through this for the last several weeks. Short version: it is fabulous. Maybe the best non-fiction book I've ever read. War in Human Civilization. Azar Gat. Why do people go to war? Is it rooted in human nature or is it a late cultural invention?

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