From Publishers Weekly
In this detailed if strident book, Harvard archaeologist LeBlanc and his co-author dismantle the notion of the noble savage, a myth that "implies that if we can just...remember our ancient abilities to be one with the natural environment, warfare will stop and ecological balance will be regained." LeBlanc begins by describes his own field experiences, in which he and his colleagues routinely ignored "clear evidence for warfare"; later, following the lead of some "fanatical sociobiologists" at Harvard, he began formulating an academic stance focused on what he saw as humanity's ecologically disastrous and inherently violent true nature. It took him more than 25 years to fully change his mind, he says, and still more evidence is needed to prove his hypothesis. And the myth, he says, is entrenched in popular culture as well as science--most people envision prehistoric people as peace-seeking nature lovers. LeBlanc insists repeatedly that it is not only foolish, but also dangerous, to believe in an Edenic past when the evidence reveals overpopulation and violence wherever we look. Like many scientists before him, LeBlanc looks to technology as the answer to ancient problems. "For the first time in history," he writes, "we have a real ability to provide adequate resources for everyone living on the planet." But by not fully addressing the fact that technology has yet to solve may of our contemporary social ills, LeBlanc almost falls into the thrall of another myth-that of a gleaming future that seems drafted from science fiction.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Timely reading... LeBlanc's short book makes accessible to general readers controversial ideas well-known in (archaeology)... (and) offers a serious critique of both 'rational choice' by our leaders for short-term ends and of environmental neglect in a market economy as leading to disaster."
-St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"In a provocative and simulating book, Steven LeBlanc places warfare at the center of human existence. He sees it as a constant battle over scarce resources from the earliest days of our history. In so doing, he gives us hope for the future, in a world where we have the potential to feed everyone. He gives us an important contribution to a growing debate over the causes and future of war."
-Brian Fagan, professor of Anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara, and author of The Little Ice Age
"Timely reading offers a serious critique of 'rational choice' by our leaders for short-term ends as leading to disaster." (William H. Leckie, Jr. St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"Constant Battles is a well-armed rebuttal to the notion that our ancestors all just got along." (The Wall Street Journal