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The Arc of War: Origins, Escalation, and Transformation Paperback – October 10, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


“This is a deeply learned book in the tradition of grand theory, sweeping from the societies of archeology and anthropology to the contemporary world system. Levy and Thompson’s careful application of evolutionary theory has produced a foundational book on international relations.”
(Bruce Russett, Yale University)

“This is quite clearly the most ambitious scientific treatise on warfare in global human history and a significant contribution to the emerging coevolutionary theory of warfare. Levy and Thompson set a new standard in the use of evidence, interdisciplinary approaches, and causal theory to explain, understand, and hopefully help mitigate the incidence and cost of warfare in contemporary society.”—Claudio Cioffi-Revilla, George Mason University
(Claudio Cioffi-Revilla, George Mason University)

 “A bold and masterly overview of warfare from its tribal origins to its present-day avatars. To be sure, such a broad and brave conception, executed in such a compressed volume, will win plaudits—but it will also draw fire. This is as it should be. Levy and Thompson will advance the field not only through their own arguments, but by the work that they are certain to inspire. Bravo.”—John Lynn, Northwestern University
(John Lynn, Northwestern University)

“Through a comprehensive review of the literature, The Arc of War presents an interesting and important argument that there is a coevolutionary process at work during warfare, whereby political economy, military organization, weapons, and the threat environment are all endogenous.”
(David Sobek, Louisiana State University)

“A long-term account of the development of warfare that is unusual for its determination to go way back in time, this is a book that considers early man and the ancient Near East as well as more recent history. Jack S. Levy and William R. Thompson, both distinguished political scientists with a strong interest in the historical dimension of war, consider the origins of warfare, looking at anthropological processes as well as the relationship between political-economic development and resource scarcities. They argue that war co-evolves with other activities, including military and political organization, political economy, threat environment, and weaponry. This is is an important book worthy of considerable attention.”
(War in History 2013-05-22)

About the Author

Jack S. Levy is the Board of Governors’ Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University and coauthor, with William R. Thompson, of Causes of War. William R. Thompson is Distinguished Professor and the Donald A. Rogers Professor of Political Science at Indiana University. He is the author or coauthor of numerous books, among them Asian Rivalries, Coping with Terrorism, and Causes of War.


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The Arc of War: Origins, Escalation, and Transformation
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