"One could not wish for a more tightly developed set of empirical cases ... Bellamy produces a very thoughtful narrative, emphasizing the disparate elements that comprise the modern just war tradition."Perspectives
"A model of careful and balanced discussion ... Bellamy strikes just the right balance between rigorous examination of general concepts and consideration of the concrete aspects of particular cases."
Henry Shue, Survival
“A convincing analysis of the emergence of international law and the dominance of realism after the Second World War [and] an excellent application of this theoretical and historical narrative to contemporary issues.”
Political Studies Review
"This is an engaging book that captures the breadth and depth of arguments over why and how we should kill one another."
"A book to admire and to argue with – in other words, the best sort of book."
Jean Bethke Elshtain, University of Chicago
In what circumstances is it legitimate to use force? How should force be used? These are two of the most crucial questions confronting world politics today.The Just War tradition provides a set of criteria which political leaders and soldiers use to defend and rationalize war. This book explores the evolution of thinking about just wars and examines its role in shaping contemporary judgments about the use of force, from grand strategic issues of whether states have a right to pre-emptive self-defence, to the minutiae of targeting and interrogation tactics.Bellamy maps the evolution of the Just War tradition, demonstrating how it arose from a myriad of sub-traditions including scholasticism, the holy war tradition, chivalry, natural law, positive law, Erasmus and Kant's reformism, and realism from Machiavelli to Morgenthau. He then applies this tradition to a range of contemporary normative dilemmas related to terrorism, pre-emption, torture, aerial bombardment and humanitarian intervention.