Saturday, November 25, 2006

Book Review: War

Title: War
Author: Gwynne Dyer
Publisher: Random House
Year: 2004
*From Uncorrected Proof

Dr. Gwynne Dyer knows his stuff. The Canadian has served in the Canadian, British and American navies. He earned his Ph.D. in military history from the University of London and taught at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He is no slouch.

He also possesses the envious ability to fly among the hawks and doves. War is evidence of this. While he is not neutral, his dovish tendencies are grounded in reality. Dyer demonstrates that war has always been with us; indeed, it may be part of us. The difference is war has evolved in a dangerous key way: now it has the potential to kill us all—not just the warriors, not the just the village, not just the tribe, but the whole damn species.

With open eyes and mind, Dyer takes us from “The Nature of the Beast” right through its theorists down the “The Road of to Mass Warfare” to “A Short History of Nuclear War” to “Guerrillas and Terrorists” to finally “The End of War.” It’s dense like a jungle, full of facts and figures, blood and guts, sweat and tears. Make no mistake. War is hell. And Dyer makes sure we are aware of it.

Gwynne Dyer stands apart, as objectively as he can, to deliver a solid and balanced look at war. Be aware: this is something to sit with and absorb, not dip into on the way to work.

This edition of War is updated and revised from his award-winning original published in 1986. That book accompanied a seven-part documentary, one episode of which was nominated for an Oscar.

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