War and the Liberal Conscience / Edition 1

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More About This Textbook


For centuries liberal-minded men and women have been horrified by the pain and waste of war. From Erasmus, who saw war as above all a product of stupidity, to Marxists who see it as a matter of class conflict, they have produced social theories to account for its occurrence and have tried to devise means to end it.
Despite these variations, there have been certain continuing themes in the search for a means to end wars, and one of the most enlightening things in this book is the way in which it is possible to see how these themes recur in subtly different forms in different periods of history. Michael Howard traces them from the Renaissance to our own time, through the social, political, and intellectual groups that gave birth to them. Throughout the whole story runs the continuing contrast between those who hoped to find a single cause for the disease, leading to a lasting cure, and those who understood that, in Howard's words, "this was a task which need to be tackled afresh every day of our lives." This edition includes a new preface by the author.
Sir Michael Howard was Regious Professor of Modern History at Oxford University.
"For 20 years Michael Howard has produced a steady stream of books and essays that earned him a place as one of the foremost military historians and analysts. . . . Adopting a broad definition of liberalism as the belief that humanity has the ability to improve and reach its full potential through reason, he traces the evolution of this idea as it has affected perceptions of war from the Renaissance to the present. The result is a brilliant survey of anti-war thought that illuminates not only the many transformations in the liberal opposition to war, but also the remarkable continuity of its basic assumptions. As with all of Howard's works, it is marked by a clarity of thought, soundness of judgment, and power of exposition that are rarely found."-Choice
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813511979
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/1987
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 150
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.35 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Howard OM, CH, CBE, MC was formerly Chichele Professor of the History of War and Regius Professor of Modern History at the University of Oxford.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2002

    Best book on war ever written

    To my mind, this and F.H. Hinsley's "Power and the Pursuit of Peace" are the two best books ever written on the subject of war. A terrific, highly literate history of how liberal societies have viewed the necessity for war through the ages, even while insisting on the inevitability of peace. Also a terrific take on the foolishness of seeing war as a "rational" choice by any state. Apologies for my obvious bias towards the "British School" of IR, but there it is.

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