Saturday, November 27, 2010

War in Human Civilization by Azar Gat

From a women’s point of view, what I found interesting is when he was talking about the hunter-gatherer societies. He talks how there was a disproportionate number of men to women. He does not come out and directly say this, but it would imply these societies practices infanticide on their female children. There was war or raiding going on in these societies and one big reason for this was for men to get wives.

When he talks about why these people go to war, reasons are women, murder and territorial trespass. It would seem that deadly conflict was ever expected amount these societies. “The fear of this restricted people to well-circumscribed home territories and necessitated constant precautions and special protective measures. Killing in fighting was among the main causes or mortality.” (This is quoted from page 35 of my paperback copy).

The other thing I like to note here is that we are becoming less and less violent as we become more civilized. We seem to think that we are naturally violent, but this does not seem to be true. (He talks about the Swiss and the Swedes. Both these people had very violent past, yet they are the most peaceful people today (page 40). Of course, the thing is that when we became more civilized violence became the domain of the rulers. We humans are nothing is not interesting.

You can find a good book review at BNET. This BNET review is by Michael Neiberg. Another review is at T. Kunikov’s blog. Although with the last one, it would be easier to read if he divided his review into paragraphs. There is also a good review at New Books In History. This review is by Marshall Poe. And, there is another review at Polical Review. This last review is by Keith Stanski.

I found this a great read. The main thing that may turn people off this book is its length. It is a long book. However, I think that the book is worth the effort.

Azar Gat is an interesting commentator. See his views on The Return of Authoritarian Capitalists. This article is in the New York Times.

On my website is how to find this book on Amazon if you care to purchase it. See Gat. Also, this book review and other books I have reviewed are on my website at Book Reviews.

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