John Horgan manages to summarize an immense amount of scholarship on the history of violent conflict into a most readable 190 pages. Besides the vast amount of reading, and previous writing, on the topic he has done, he has also interviewed peace activists, anthropologists and other scientists, and military and political leaders. Their reflections add many facets to Horgan's argument that war is not inevitable. But he does not just reach that particular conclusion and sit back; he also emphasizes that neither is peace inevitable; it takes constant and difficult work and effort. Yet the absolute importance of working for peace is clear; from all his research, he concludes:
"Those of us who want to make the world a better place--more democratic, equitable, healthier, cleaner--should make abolishing the invention of war our priority, because peace can help bring about many of the other changes we seek. If you want less pollution, more money for healthcare and education, an improved legal and political system--work for peace."
Horgan is a college teacher as well as a writer, and his style and message seem pitched to the next generation coming along, urging them kindly but firmly to share his optimism and to work towards the goal of putting an end to war. The benefits are incalculable.
From the 1950s fold song by Ed McCurdy,
Last night I had the strangest dream I'd ever dreamed before I dreamed the world had all agreed To put an end to war
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