From Library Journal
In his Of Arms and Men (LJ 12/88), senior intelligence analyst O'Connell traced the rise of warfare from the classical period to the present. In this work, he reconsiders the 10,000 years prior to the Greeks to probe the origins of war. O'Connell takes a social approach, noting that war emerges from changes in the economic and social order, especially in the production of food and in the cycles of famine and disease. He centers his exhaustive and superb analysis on the rise of agriculture and domestication of animals and the subsequent effects in various societies (nomadic, pastoral, urban) and in various civilizations (Asia, Europe, and the New World). O'Connell says that this "plant trap" leads to warfare that serves the combatants' social purpose, although the amount and type of war varies with the social order of different periods and places. He concludes, however, that war is an anachronism in modern societies because the rise of industrialization and the shift in values in the past 200 years have led to a change in the control humans have over the conditions supporting war. This scholarly, thoughtful, well-written book will be valuable to the serious student of war, anthropology, history, and politics. Highly recommended.Richard B. Finnegan, Stonehill Coll., North Easton, Mass.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"A thoroughly provocative, readable and absorbing study which makes [the] reader reflect on man's motivations....Read his book for pleasure and wisdom."--The Washington Post
"A wonderfully original book on war, a genuinely synthetic argument that weaves together ideas from a wide array of disciplines. It deserves to be read and pondered."--Times Literary Supplement
"[An] interesting study of why people have gone to war over the years."--Star-Ledger