The Lethal Custom
By Gwynne Dyer
Basic Books, Hardcover, 9780786715381, 496pp.
Publication Date: April 1, 2005
List Price: $30.00*
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While modern science ponders whether human beings are programmed toward belligerence and warfare, there is no doubt that war has been humanity's constant companion since the dawn of civilization and that we have become all too proficient in its conduct. In War, noted military historian and award-winning journalist Gwynne Dyer ranges from the tumbling walls of Jericho to the modern advent of total war. He shows how the martial instinct has evolved over the human generations and among our close primate relations. Dyer confronts the reality of war, and the threat of nuclear weapons, but does not despair that war is our eternal legacy. He likes and respects soldiers, even while he knows their job is to kill; he understands the physics and the psychology of battles, but is no war junkie. Dyer surveys the fiery battlefields of human history, never losing sight of the people caught up in war. He actually believes there is hope that war, like slavery, can be abolished. This brilliant book explores the human past to imagine a different future. Abundantly illustrated, with sources from Egyptian pyramid paintings to searing photos from today's news magazines, War is a telling account of mankind's most destructive tradition.