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  • Published: 28 April 2022
  • ISBN: 9780241444504
  • Imprint: Viking
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $48.99

Why We Fight

The Roots of War and the Paths to Peace




Based on two decades of research, the five causes of wars and four ways to stop them

The truth is, warfare shouldn't happen - and most of the time it doesn't. Around the world there are millions of hostile rivalries at any given moment and yet only a tiny fraction erupt into prolonged fighting. Most books on conflict forget this. So in those rare instances of war, what broke down and kept the sides from compromise? From unchecked interests and intangible incentives, through uncertainty commitment problems and misperceptions, this peerlessly authoritative and thought-provoking book shows that there are only so many logical possibilities for why we fight and how by knowing them we can act to prevent war altogether.

Drawing on the latest research in behavioural economics; gripping, counterintuitive examples from the long history of warfare around the world; and distinguished professor Christopher Blattman's own experience in warzones, we see, for example, how queens have waged war more than kings; that the homicide rate in the ganglands of Medellín, Columbia is lower than you think; and that even monkeys have an innate righteousness. In an accessible, intuitive structure framed around causes and solutions, Why We Fight is a hopeful book, with answers to some of history's most important questions. In an age of growing isolationism and the weakening of global institutions, this book couldn't be timelier.

  • Published: 28 April 2022
  • ISBN: 9780241444504
  • Imprint: Viking
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $48.99

About the author

Christopher Blattman

Christopher Blattman is the Ramalee E. Pearson Professor of Global Conflict Studies at the University of Chicago in the Harris School of Public Policy and The Pearson Institute. As a young man, he met his future wife in a Kenyan internet café, where she set him on a path to working on conflict and international development. He's now done so for 21 years. Through his academic work he has witnessed (and helped to stem) violence around the world. Blattman writes regularly for The New York Times, Vox, Foreign Policy and Foreign Affairs, among others. For 13 years he has run one of the most popular blogs on international affairs and global development, and is one of the 25 most followed economists on Twitter. This is his first trade book.

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