The Shortest History of War: From Hunter-Gatherers to Nuclear Superpowers - A Retelling for Our Times (Paperback)

The Shortest History of War: From Hunter-Gatherers to Nuclear Superpowers - A Retelling for Our Times By Gwynne Dyer Cover Image
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A brisk account of this defining feature of human society, from prehistory to nuclear proliferation and lethal autonomous weapons. The Shortest History books deliver thousands of years of history in one riveting, fast-paced read.

War has changed, but we have not. From our hunter-gatherer ancestors to the rival nuclear powers of today, whenever resources have been contested, we’ve gone to battle. Acclaimed historian Gwynne Dyer illuminates our many martial clashes in this brisk account, tracing warfare from prehistory to the world’s first cities—and on to the thousand-year “classical age” of combat, which ended when the firearm changed everything. He examines the brief interlude of “limited war” before eighteenth-century revolution ushered in “total war”—and how the devastation was halted by the nuclear shock of Hiroshima.

Then came the Cold War and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which punctured the longest stretch of peace between major powers since World War II. For all our advanced technology and hyperconnected global society, we find ourselves once again on the brink as climate change heightens competition for resources and superpowers stand ready with atomic bombs, drones, and futuristic “autonomous” weapons in development.

Throughout, Dyer delves into anthropology, psychology, and other relevant fields to unmask the drivers of conflict. The Shortest History of War is for anyone who wants to understand the role of war in the human story—and how we can prevent it from defining our future.

About the Author

London-based Gwynne Dyer is a renowned journalist, columnist, broadcaster, and lecturer on international affairs. His documentary television series on the history of war was nominated for an Academy Award. His twice-weekly column on international affairs appears in 175 newspapers in 45 countries and is translated into more than a dozen languages.

Praise For…

An incisive and well-informed overview of how warfare has evolved. . . . sheds light on how new technologies, from the composite bow to drones, have altered battlefield and geopolitical strategies.
— Publishers Weekly

From the first armies to clashes of drones and dirty bombs, this is eye-opening, big-picture stuff.
— BBC History Magazine

Readable and sharp . . . does what it says on the tin.
— Independent

Dyer writes with eloquence and authority . . . particularly effective in painting in broad strokes the evolution of warfare.
— Irish Examiner

Underwrite an overview of a complicated topic with one of these new short-and-sweet distillations . . . with maps, charts, sidebars, and illustrations to bring it alive.
— Mosaic, Morgan Stanley

This book is unique because, rather than examining any individual war, it looks at the ‘How’: how wars and conflicts were enacted and how that evolved over time.
— City Book Review

Product Details
ISBN: 9781615199303
ISBN-10: 1615199306
Publisher: The Experiment
Publication Date: August 2nd, 2022
Pages: 256
Language: English
Series: Shortest History