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The Remnants of War (Cornell Studies in Security Affairs) Hardcover – August 20, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0801442391 ISBN-10: 0801442397

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Product Details

  • Series: Cornell Studies in Security Affairs
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press (August 20, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801442397
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801442391
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,810,495 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Since around 1700, humanity has increasingly opposed violence of all kinds, Ohio State policy analyst Mueller argues. For him, war is an idea, like dueling or slavery, that over time became embedded in human behavior, and whose appeal and legitimacy are now in profound decline. Better quality of life, the expansion of democracy, the development of international norms and institutions, and increasingly destructive war-making technologies are major factors. Yet if war is declining, warfare persists in the form of domestic conflicts that Mueller regards as a consequence of inadequate governments. Mueller’s solution proposes to improve states’ policing efficiency and effectiveness, making them better able to deal with what he calls "residual warfare" within their borders. The argument depends heavily on Mueller’s thesis that the various forms of conflict prominent after the Cold War—terrorism, ethnic conflicts, "criminal war" like that still racking the former Yugoslavia—are not wars but policing problems, requiring a constabulary approach. Mueller’s case is essentially semantic, based on a limited definition of war as highly organized conflict between highly developed societies; many of the conflicts he describes as "thuggish remnants" feature sophisticated weapons and make comprehensive use of modern electronics. And what happens if the newly effective states he postulates subsequently turn their attention outward? Mueller’s case finally depends more on inference than evidence.
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Review

"Since around 1700, humanity has increasingly opposed violence of all kinds, Ohio State policy analyst Mueller argues. For him, war is an idea, like dueling or slavery, that over time became embedded in human behavior, and whose appeal and legitimacy are now in profound decline. Better quality of life, the expansion of democracy, the development of international norms and institutions, and increasingly destructive war-making technologies are major factors. Yet if war is declining, warfare persists in the form of domestic conflicts that Mueller regards as a consequence of inadequate governments. Mueller's solution proposes to improve states' policing efficiency and effectiveness, making them better able to deal with what he calls 'residual warfare' within their borders."—Publishers Weekly (July 2004)



"Mueller argues that war is similar to slavery, as both an institution and a belief. As such, major war, like slavery, has been condemned by developed nations and certainly after the Cold War has been used rarely. . . . Well researched and well organized, with clear, original arguments . . . , this thought-provoking piece will have tremendous policy implications as nations, especially the United States, structure their militaries to deal with these smaller policing actions."—Library Journal (August 2004)



"A brilliantly original and urgent book."—Gregg Easterbrook, The New Republic



"It is refreshing to read a book about war that is optimistic and hopeful. John Mueller's The Remnants of War is both of these things. His thesis is that the idea of war is going the same way as the idea of slavery—it is becoming obsolete. . . . He argues that there is evidence that good governance is spreading, and that policing wars are increasingly unattractive."—Claire Thomas, Journal of Peace Research (November 2005)



"Mueller's is a sweeping, multifaceted, and complex argument that speaks to multiple research programs in political science, generates several policy recommendations, and addresses central issues of our time. I found the parts on the decline of major war, in particular, to be absolutely fascinating, and the effort to conceptualize violent conflict on a continuum going from small crime to terrorism to be very stimulating. In short, this is a nice example of a rich and erudite book that speaks to a larger public without sacrificing scholarly thoroughness."—Stathis N. Kalyvas, Perspectives on Politics



"Mueller's book is smart and provocative, and it should inspire a wider examination of how warfare has changed, as a whole, over the last century."—Jeremy Suri, Political Science Quarterly (Summer 2005)



New York Times Book Review: "If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?"

Steven Pinker: "John Mueller's The Remnants of War explains how warfare has changed over the course of history, and how to deal with the remnants today."

(2014-09-28)

"In this book John Mueller charts the continuing decline of one of the oldest and most important of all human practices. The Remnants of War is a powerful and provocative account of the fate of war in our time."—Michael Mandelbaum, Christian A. Herter Professor of American Foreign Policy, The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and author of The Ideas That Conquered the World: Peace, Democracy and Free Markets in the Twenty-First Century



"John Mueller has written another extremely stimulating and suitably cantankerous book."—Richard Rosecrance, University of California, Los Angeles


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By John F. Daniel on July 31, 2007
Format: Hardcover
An interesting book that claims that war is an outdated concept and is obsolete. Although many (including myself) would take issue with this thesis, this is a through provoking work worth a look. My personal favorite item is the table comparing the death totals of the various Rambo movies. Hats off to you Dr. Mueller, you have provoked thought and discussion in a creative manner.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kid Kyoto VINE VOICE on September 27, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mueller's Retreat from Doomsday was one of the best books I read in college and this follow-up is just as good. Mueller takes the long view of war and shows that the devastating wars among nation states of the 19th and 20th centuries are disappearing.

What is left are wars against bandits, insurrections and terrorists, the modern equivalents of barbarians. Militarily they are no match for organized military forces.

I think he underestimates international organizations like Al Qaida who show the ability to organize simultaneous strikes and a willingness to sacrifice their lives. But I think his larger point that wars among nations have become rare is a good one worth study, discussion and, if true, celebration.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent book. A pull back from the action, drama and scourge of all wars to look intelligently at how we got to this place and where we might be going. A "must read" for all the military and war buffs!
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