Although war has been analyzed from many perspectives, no scholar has satisfactorily explained why the human race fights and how we came to create a degree of military sophistication capable of destroying the entire species. Gabriel addresses these questions in his study of the origins and development of warfare. He looks particularly at the relationship between the evolution of the social institution of war and the development of the military institutions, tactical sciences, and technology required for organized conflict.
Beginning with a discussion of the biological and evolutionary history of man, Gabriel investigates the proposition that the human race is genetically predisposed to warlike behavior. He next reviews the archaeological record to test the common assumption that war has existed from the earliest times. He traces the evolution of the social institutions and technology of war in a succession of ancient cultures beginning with the Bronze Age. The development of armies, tactics, logistics, and weapons is examined, together with the psychological and social implications of mankind's choice to use them. The work concludes with a discussion demonstrating how the practice of war in modern times relates to the perpetuation of values and institutional forms created by earlier societiesespecially those of classical Greece and Rome. The first study to integrate the findings of cultural anthropology with the concerns of military analysis, this work will be of interest to students and academics in these and related fields.