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Why Nations Fight : Past and Future Motives for War, Hardback Book

Why Nations Fight : Past and Future Motives for War Hardback


Four generic motives have historically led states to initiate war: fear, interest, standing, and revenge.

Using an original data set, Richard Ned Lebow examines the distribution of wars across three and a half centuries and argues that, contrary to conventional wisdom, only a minority of these were motivated by security or material interest.

Instead, the majority are the result of a quest for standing, and for revenge - an attempt to get even with states who had previously made successful territorial grabs.

Lebow maintains that today none of these motives are effectively served by war - it is increasingly counterproductive - and that there is growing recognition of this political reality.

His analysis allows for more fine-grained and persuasive forecasts about the future of war as well as highlighting areas of uncertainty.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 308 pages, 2 Tables, black and white; 11 Line drawings, black and white
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: General & world history
  • ISBN: 9780521192835



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