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War: Ends and Means / Edition 2

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This book explores the causes, operations, endings, and justifications of war. In the process, it demolishes many currently fashionable illusions, such as that peace is always preferable to war, that wars occur because of accidents or misunderstandings, and that technology changes the nature of war. Abundant historical and contemporary examples show, the authors contend, that all wars are deliberate political choices, that military operations follow timeless principles, and that, as Aristotle taught, the natural aim of war is victory. This new edition of the book that Eugene Rostow called “a gem,” Michael Howard called “shrewd and trenchant,” and Library Journal called “persuasive” devotes substantial attention to the wars of the post–Cold War period, including “the war on terrorism.”

In the tradition of Clausewitz and Machiavelli, two distinguished scholars explore every aspect of war and many current myths about war and peace.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This book was important when we were not at war. Now that we are locked in combat--political, ideological, and military--against terrorists determined to destroy our civilization, Angelo Codevilla’s sweeping, incisive treatment of mankind’s most persistent scourge is essential reading."

"A uniquely valuable commentary on war when it first came out, this book became a mainstay of my graduate students’ education until it went out of print. Now, thankfully, it is back, updated and enhanced by Professor Codevilla so that it is even better. While retaining its timeless parts, there is much new material containing keen insights on post-1991 events and current warfare. It should be indispensable to students of the subject."


"Dispels any number of misconceptions about the causes of wars and is shrewd in its analysis of the relationship between strategy and operations."

"A wide-ranging, literate, and insightful work."

"A provocative review of the many verities about war."

"An astonishing achievement of compression . . . a one-volume book on warfare that is actually instructive."

Library Journal
War can be preferable to peace: This is the unconventional argument of Seabury, a political scientist at Berkeley, and Codevilla, a Research Fellow of the Hoover Institute. Their smoothly written monograph surveys war's causes and discusses how wars are fought. Its major contribution, however, is its development of the thesis that human intercourse produces objective circumstances in which kill or be killed becomes the best option. Since 1900 three times as many lives have been lost as a result of shootings, gassings, and famines inflicted on defenseless victims than have been sacrificed to military operations. In this context the kinds of war a nation will fight depends less on the material factors stressed in such works as Paul Kennedy's The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers (LJ 12/87) than on the kinds of peace leaders and people believe available and are willing to accept. A controversial but persuasive book. Recommended.-- Dennis Showalter, Colorado Coll., Colorado Springs
On the aspect of war: its causes, methods, endings and justifications. Includes discussions of the judgements involved in going to war, combat operations, intelligence gathering, and making peace. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781574886108
  • Publisher: Potomac Books Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/31/2006
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,423,717
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Angelo Codevilla is a professor of international relations at Boston University and the author of The Character of Nations, among other works. He lives in Wayland, Massachusetts.

The late Paul Seabury was a professor of political science at the University of California, Berkeley.

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Table of Contents

1 The meaning of war and peace 23
2 The causes of war 33
3 The fog of wars 59
4 The political conditions of battle 75
5 The material conditions of battle 95
6 Winning the battle : land, sea, and air 113
7 Military operations in the nuclear age 131
8 Political warfare 151
9 Indirect warfare and terror 173
10 Intelligence 195
11 Just war 225
12 Making peace 251
13 Our small wars 281
14 The Gulf War of 1990-91 299
15 Terror and Iraq 319
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