The Invention of Peace by Sir Michael Howard
Reflections on War and International Order

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Throughout history the overwhelming majority of human societies have taken war for granted and made it the basis for their legal and social structures. Not until the Enlightenment in the eighteenth century did war come to be regarded as an unmitigated evil and one that could be abolished by rational social organization, and only after the massive slaughter of the two world wars did this become the declared objective of civilized states. Nevertheless, war in one form or another continues unabated. In this elegantly written book, a preeminent military historian considers why this is so.

Is war in some sense still a necessary element in international order? Are war and peace in fact complementary? Does not peace itself breed the conditions that will ultimately lead to war? And if nuclear weapons have made war ultimately suicidal for mankind, what can be done about it? Having devoted half a century largely to studying these questions, Michael Howard offers us his reflections. Unless they can be answered, he notes, the twenty-first century is unlikely to be any more peaceful than the centuries that preceded it.


About Sir Michael Howard

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Sir Michael Howard has held the Chair of War Studies at King's College London, the Chichele Chair of History of War and the Regius Chair of Modern History at Oxford, and the Robert A. Lovett Chair of Military and Naval History at Yale. His works include The Franco-Prussian War, The Causes of Wars, War and the Liberal Conscience, The Lessons of History, and War in European History. Together with Professor Peter Paret he edited and translated Clausewitz, On War.
Published June 29, 2000 by Profile Books Ltd. 128 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, War. Non-fiction

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The author’s basic contention is that peace is, if not an “unnatural” state of affairs, “certainly a far more complex affair than war.” In “Priests and Princes: 800–1789,” he examines how war evolved from a specialized activity waged by professionals to a rationalized tool of state (to be used by...

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Howard, professor emeritus of military and naval history at Yale (The Lessons of History;

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