War in Human Civilization / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Rent from BN.com
(Save 59%)
Est. Return Date: 07/27/2015
Buy Used
Buy Used from BN.com
(Save 41%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $14.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 55%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (13) from $14.99   
  • New (6) from $26.38   
  • Used (7) from $14.99   


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. 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, from anthropology and evolutionary psychology to sociology and political science. Written with remarkable verve and clarity and wholly free from jargon, it will be of interest to anyone who has ever pondered the puzzle of war.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"War in Human Civilization is indeed the ambitious, sweeping book that the author set out to write. Both its scope and scale are impressive as is the wide range of sources and disciplines whose theories and methods are brought to bear on the 'riddle' of war.... The coverage and the deft weaving together of so many central theories on human behavior make this a book worth examining."--Michael S. Neilberg, Journal of Social History

"A work of extraordinary scope and formidable erudition.... Gat definitively unravels the riddle of civilization and war."--Professor Robert J. Lieber, Georgetown University

"Gat's book is a rich undertaking definitely well worth reading and pondering."--William R. Thompson, The International History Review

UNEDITED UK REVIEW: "An immensely ambitious work covering not only history but archaeology, anthropology, ethnography, demography and economics, to name but a few... its weight of learning is borne aloft by the author's enthusiasm for his subject and takes his readers with it. If only there were more scholars like this!"--Michael Howard, TLS Books of the Year

UNEDITED UK REVIEW: "There's any amount of fascinating insight to be found in this big and enormously ambitious interdisciplinary study."--The Scotsman

UNEDITED UK REVIEW: "A book of extraordinary ambition, erudition and range... Every student of war will be obliged to engage with this remarkable piece of scholarship."--Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman, King's College, London

"A work of extraordinary scope and formidable erudition.... Gat definitively unravels the riddle of civilization and war."--Professor Robert J. Lieber, Georgetown University

UNEDITED UK REVIEW: "A towering and triumphant achievement... acute, scholarly, and wide-ranging: it is certainly one of the most important works on the subject written since 1945. Gat is at the top of his brilliant form, linking a variety of disciplines in a rich and comprehensive study of this most pertinent of issues."--Professor Richard Holmes

"The scope and sweep of Gat's work is certainly unmatched in modern world history writings...Gat's work will be a springboard for debate, refutation, support and development for some time to come." --World History Bulletin

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199236633
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/15/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 840
  • Sales rank: 635,066
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 5.90 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Azar Gat is Ezer Weitzman Professor of National Security in the Department of Political Science at Tel Aviv University. He has published widely in the field of military strategy and thought, including A History of Military Thought: From the Enlightenment to the Cold War.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Part 1: Warfare in the First Two Million Years: Environment, Genes, and Culture
1. Introduction: The Human 'State of Nature'
2. Peaceful or War-like: Did Hunter-Gatherers Fight?
3. Why Fighting? The Evolutionary Perspective
4. Motivation: Food and Sex
5. Motivation: the Web of Desire
6. 'Primitive Warfare': How Was It Done?
7. Conclusion: Fighting in the Evolutionary State of Nature
Part 2: Agriculture, Civilization, and War
8. Introduction: Evolving Cultural Complexity
9. Tribal Warfare in Agraria and Pastoralia
10. Armed Force in the Emergence of the State
11. The Eurasian Spearhead: East, West, and the Steppe
12. Conclusion: War, the Leviathan, and the Pleasures and Miseries of Civilization
Part 3: Modernity: the Dual Face of Janus
13. Introduction: the Explosion of Wealth and Power
14. Guns and Markets: the New European States and a Global World
15. Unbound and Bound Prometheus: Machine Age War
16. Affluent Liberal Democracies, Ultimate Weapons, and the World
17. Conclusion: Unravelling the Riddle of War

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 1 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 12, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A work of genius

    The book of Azar Gat is as idiosyncratic and angular as, e.g. Borges or Schopenhauer. Some of its passages are simply bigoted or idiotic. But this is probably the most important book on warfare written since J.F.C. Fuller's The Decisive Battles of the Western World (Fuller, by the way, was a well-known Nazi sympathizer). This is a work of pure genius. It now joins the rare firmament occupied by a select few: Sun Tzu, von Klausewitz, etc. as one of the minor but bright stars. See a complete review and argument with several of his statements on my blog oldpossumsbookreview.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)