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Extended Audio Sample Civil Wars: A History in Ideas, by David Armitage Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: David Armitage Narrator: Derek Perkins Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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A highly original history, tracing the least understood and most intractable form of organized human aggression from Ancient Rome to the present day.

We think we know civil war when we see it. Yet ideas of what it is, and what it isn’t, have a long and contested history, from its fraught origins in republican Rome to debates in early modern Europe to our present day. Defining the term is acutely political, for ideas about what makes a war “civil” often depend on whether one is a ruler or a rebel, victor or vanquished, sufferer or outsider. Calling a conflict a civil war can shape its outcome by determining whether outside powers choose to get involved or stand aside: from the American Revolution to the war in Iraq, pivotal decisions have depended on such shifts of perspective.

The age of civil war in the West may be over, but elsewhere in the last two decades it has exploded—from the Balkans to Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, and Sri Lanka, and most recently Syria. And the language of civil war has burgeoned as democratic politics has become more violently fought. This book’s unique perspective on the roots and dynamics of civil war, and on its shaping force in our conflict-ridden world, will be essential to the ongoing effort to grapple with this seemingly interminable problem.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Concise, winningly written, clearly laid out, trenchantly argued…It’s hard to imagine a more timely work for today. ”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “A profound contribution to political philosophy.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Armitage’s book does a wonderful job of showing the multifaceted nature of his subject. While civil war might be easy to define, he shows that its application is intricate.”

    Library Journal

  • “An erudite work by a top-shelf scholar.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Packed with wisdom and learning, elegantly written and vigorously argued, this is a magnificent field guide to our current crises in Syria and elsewhere.”

    Gary Bass, author of The Blood Telegram

  • Civil Wars succeeds brilliantly in its ambition to “uncover the origins of our present discontents”

    Anthony Pagden, author of The Enlightenment: And Why It Still Matters

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