Right now, as you read this, somebody, somewhere, is planning a war": from its opening sentence, Smith's book demands the reader's attention. A professor of philosophy and the cofounder and director of the Institute for Cognitive Science and Evolutionary Psychology at the University of New England, Smith has written a stark study of human nature, examining how we are biologically wired to fight. The human need for war is based on two powerful evolutionary factors: an innate aggressiveness born of a need to fight for food, shelter and the right to breed, and the human craving to belong to a group. Dispelling illusions of the peaceful, noble savage, Smith discusses anthropological and archeological evidence of war, raids, terrorism and genocide between hunter-gatherer societies: mass graves of people executed by blows to the head; human bones scarred by butchering or with arrow and spear points lodged in them. Human settlement brought wars of conquest and industry devoted to making weapons. Now we attempt to disguise the facts of war with euphemisms like "target" (instead of person), "friendly fire" and "collateral damage." Smith's writing, reinforced by one grim example after another, is crisp and sobering, never blunting the fact that we are "our own worst enemy." (Aug.)
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"In The Most Dangerous Animal, David Livingstone Smith illuminates an exceedingly dark subject: humankind's deep-seated penchant for war. The result is a discerning, insightful, highly original, and very disturbing book."--Andrew J. Bacevich, author of The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War."
"This is a brilliant book. It weaves together a wealth of insights from science, history, literature, philosophy and contemporary affairs into an accessible, lucid, and cogently argued defense of the role of human nature in war."--Robert L. Holmes, Professor of Philosophy, University of Rochester, and author of On War and Morality
A very interesting read. However, at times the author seems to go off the beaten path, away from the subject of the book, quite a bit. Still worth checking out.Published 2 days ago by anthony whited
This book may be the first of its kind. It clearly looks at the phenomenon of war from internal, external, historical, and modern perspective. Read morePublished 1 month ago by MNishi
Came with a nice little note thanking me for purchasing the book and it was also in great condition!Published 6 months ago by Erica Cansino
This is an intelligent, philosophical look at war and the violence we humans do to each other. I must confess that I have not read the book in it's entirety ... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Rookiecookie
so we are hardwired to resort to war for the many benefits it brings us,
atheists are just as fanatical as their religious opponents when discussing life,
when you ignore... Read more
Well written, rich, evocative description and well argued. Meanders a bit at times. Greater command of research literature could strengthen argument. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Amazon Customer