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War Before Civilization

Author: Lawrence H. Keeley
Publisher: OUP USA
ISBN: 9780195119121
Size: 12.18 MB
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Offering a devastating rebuttal to the comfortable myth that prehistoric warfare was rare, harmless, and unimportant, Lawrence H. Keeley's groundbreaking "War Before Civilization" debunks the notion that warfare was introduced to primitive societies through contact with civilization. 16 illustrations.

War Before Civilization

Author: Lawrence H. Keeley
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199880700
Size: 56.74 MB
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The myth of the peace-loving "noble savage" is persistent and pernicious. Indeed, for the last fifty years, most popular and scholarly works have agreed that prehistoric warfare was rare, harmless, unimportant, and, like smallpox, a disease of civilized societies alone. Prehistoric warfare, according to this view, was little more than a ritualized game, where casualties were limited and the effects of aggression relatively mild. Lawrence Keeley's groundbreaking War Before Civilization offers a devastating rebuttal to such comfortable myths and debunks the notion that warfare was introduced to primitive societies through contact with civilization (an idea he denounces as "the pacification of the past"). Building on much fascinating archeological and historical research and offering an astute comparison of warfare in civilized and prehistoric societies, from modern European states to the Plains Indians of North America, War Before Civilization convincingly demonstrates that prehistoric warfare was in fact more deadly, more frequent, and more ruthless than modern war. To support this point, Keeley provides a wide-ranging look at warfare and brutality in the prehistoric world. He reveals, for instance, that prehistorical tactics favoring raids and ambushes, as opposed to formal battles, often yielded a high death-rate; that adult males falling into the hands of their enemies were almost universally killed; and that surprise raids seldom spared even women and children. Keeley cites evidence of ancient massacres in many areas of the world, including the discovery in South Dakota of a prehistoric mass grave containing the remains of over 500 scalped and mutilated men, women, and children (a slaughter that took place a century and a half before the arrival of Columbus). In addition, Keeley surveys the prevalence of looting, destruction, and trophy-taking in all kinds of warfare and again finds little moral distinction between ancient warriors and civilized armies. Finally, and perhaps most controversially, he examines the evidence of cannibalism among some preliterate peoples. Keeley is a seasoned writer and his book is packed with vivid, eye-opening details (for instance, that the homicide rate of prehistoric Illinois villagers may have exceeded that of the modern United States by some 70 times). But he also goes beyond grisly facts to address the larger moral and philosophical issues raised by his work. What are the causes of war? Are human beings inherently violent? How can we ensure peace in our own time? Challenging some of our most dearly held beliefs, Keeley's conclusions are bound to stir controversy.

War Before Civilization

Author: Lawrence H. Keeley
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199761531
Size: 18.56 MB
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The myth of the peace-loving "noble savage" is persistent and pernicious. Indeed, for the last fifty years, most popular and scholarly works have agreed that prehistoric warfare was rare, harmless, unimportant, and, like smallpox, a disease of civilized societies alone. Prehistoric warfare, according to this view, was little more than a ritualized game, where casualties were limited and the effects of aggression relatively mild. Lawrence Keeley's groundbreaking War Before Civilization offers a devastating rebuttal to such comfortable myths and debunks the notion that warfare was introduced to primitive societies through contact with civilization (an idea he denounces as "the pacification of the past"). Building on much fascinating archeological and historical research and offering an astute comparison of warfare in civilized and prehistoric societies, from modern European states to the Plains Indians of North America, War Before Civilization convincingly demonstrates that prehistoric warfare was in fact more deadly, more frequent, and more ruthless than modern war. To support this point, Keeley provides a wide-ranging look at warfare and brutality in the prehistoric world. He reveals, for instance, that prehistorical tactics favoring raids and ambushes, as opposed to formal battles, often yielded a high death-rate; that adult males falling into the hands of their enemies were almost universally killed; and that surprise raids seldom spared even women and children. Keeley cites evidence of ancient massacres in many areas of the world, including the discovery in South Dakota of a prehistoric mass grave containing the remains of over 500 scalped and mutilated men, women, and children (a slaughter that took place a century and a half before the arrival of Columbus). In addition, Keeley surveys the prevalence of looting, destruction, and trophy-taking in all kinds of warfare and again finds little moral distinction between ancient warriors and civilized armies. Finally, and perhaps most controversially, he examines the evidence of cannibalism among some preliterate peoples. Keeley is a seasoned writer and his book is packed with vivid, eye-opening details (for instance, that the homicide rate of prehistoric Illinois villagers may have exceeded that of the modern United States by some 70 times). But he also goes beyond grisly facts to address the larger moral and philosophical issues raised by his work. What are the causes of war? Are human beings inherently violent? How can we ensure peace in our own time? Challenging some of our most dearly held beliefs, Keeley's conclusions are bound to stir controversy.

Blood Rites

Author: Barbara Ehrenreich
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 9780805057874
Size: 79.90 MB
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A study of the human attraction to violence and war ranges from the human sacrifices of the ancient world to the Holocaust, tracing the impulse to slaughter to the blood rites enacted by the earliest human hunters. Reprint. 17,500 first printing.

Constant Battles

Author: Steven A. LeBlanc
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
ISBN: 1466850191
Size: 11.69 MB
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With armed conflict in the Persian Gulf now upon us, Harvard archaeologist Steven LeBlanc takes a long-term view of the nature and roots of war, presenting a controversial thesis: The notion of the "noble savage" living in peace with one another and in harmony with nature is a fantasy. In Constant Battles: The Myth of the Peaceful, Noble Savage, LeBlanc contends that warfare and violent conflict have existed throughout human history, and that humans have never lived in ecological balance with nature. The start of the second major U.S. military action in the Persian Gulf, combined with regular headlines about spiraling environmental destruction, would tempt anyone to conclude that humankind is fast approaching a catastrophic end. But as LeBlanc brilliantly argues, the archaeological record shows that the warfare and ecological destruction we find today fit into patterns of human behavior that have gone on for millions of years. Constant Battles surveys human history in terms of social organization-from hunter gatherers, to tribal agriculturalists, to more complex societies. LeBlanc takes the reader on his own digs around the world -- from New Guinea to the Southwestern U.S. to Turkey -- to show how he has come to discover warfare everywhere at every time. His own fieldwork combined with his archaeological, ethnographic, and historical research, presents a riveting account of how, throughout human history, people always have outgrown the carrying capacity of their environment, which has led to war. Ultimately, though, LeBlanc's point of view is reassuring and optimistic. As he explains the roots of warfare in human history, he also demonstrates that warfare today has far less impact than it did in the past. He also argues that, as awareness of these patterns and the advantages of modern technology increase, so does our ability to avoid war in the future.

Sick Societies

Author: Robert B. Edgerton
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 1451602324
Size: 78.78 MB
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Author and scholar Robert Edgerton challenges the notion that primitive societies were happy and healthy before they were corrupted and oppressed by colonialism. He surveys a range of ethnographic writings, and shows that many of these so-called innocent societies were cruel, confused, and misled.

Warless Societies And The Origin Of War

Author: Raymond Case Kelly
Publisher: University of Michigan Press
ISBN: 9780472067381
Size: 15.76 MB
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A concise study using archeological and ethnographic evidence to refute current theories about the origin of war

War In Human Civilization

Author: Azar Gat
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199236631
Size: 27.79 MB
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Why do people go to war? Is it rooted in human nature or is it a late cultural invention? And what of war today - is it a declining phenomenon or simply changing its shape? In this truly global study of war and civilization, Azar Gat sets out to find definitive answers to these questions in an attempt to unravel the 'riddle of war' throughout human history, from the early hunter-gatherers right through to the unconventional terrorism of the twenty-first century. Written with remarkable verve and clarity and wholly free from jargon, it will be of interest to anyone who has ever pondered the puzzle of war.

North American Indigenous Warfare And Ritual Violence

Author: Richard J. Chacon
Publisher: University of Arizona Press
ISBN: 9780816525324
Size: 10.13 MB
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Despite evidence of warfare and violent conflict in pre-Columbian North America, scholars argue that the scale and scope of Native American violence is exagerated. They contend that scholarly misrepresentation has denigrated indigenous peoples when in fact they lived together in peace and harmony. In rebutting that contention, this groundbreaking book presents clear evidenceÑfrom multiple academic disciplinesÑthat indigenous populations engaged in warfare and ritual violence long before European contact. In ten well-documented and thoroughly researched chapters, fourteen leading scholars dispassionately describe sources and consequences of Amerindian warfare and violence, including ritual violence. Originally presented at an American Anthropological Association symposium, their findings construct a convincing case that bloodshed and killing have been woven into the fabric of indigenous life in North America for many centuries. The editors argue that a failure to acknowledge the roles of warfare and violence in the lives of indigenous North Americans is itself a vestige of colonial repressionÑdepriving native warriors of their history of armed resistance. These essays document specific acts of Native American violence across the North American continent. Including contributions from anthropologists, archaeologists, historians, and ethnographers, they argue not only that violence existed but also that it was an important and frequently celebrated component of Amerindian life. CONTENTS Acknowledgments Introduction Richard J. Chacon and RubŽn G. Mendoza 1.ÊÊTraditional Native Warfare in Western Alaska Ernest S. Burch Jr. 2.ÊÊBarbarism and Ardour of War from the Tenderest YearsÓ: Cree-Inuit Warfare in the Hudson Bay Region Charles A. Bishop and Victor P. Lytwyn 3.ÊÊAboriginal Warfare on the Northwest Coast: Did the Potlatch Replace Warfare? Joan A. Lovisek 4.ÊÊEthnohistoric Descriptions of Chumash Warfare John R. Johnson 5.ÊÊDocumenting Conflict in the Prehistoric Pueblo Southwest Polly Schaafsma 6.ÊÊCahokia and the Evidence for Late Pre-Columbian War in the North American Midcontinent Thomas E. Emerson 7.ÊÊIroquois-Huron Warfare Dean R. Snow 8.ÊÊDesecrating the Sacred Ancestor Temples: Chiefly Conflict and Violence in the American Southeast David H. Dye and Adam King 9.ÊÊWarfare, Population, and Food Production in Prehistoric Eastern North America George R. Milner 10.ÊÊThe Osteological Evidence for Indigenous Warfare in North America Patricia M. Lambert 11.ÊÊEthical Considerations and Conclusions Regarding Indigenous Warfare and Violence in North America Richard J. Chacon and RubŽn G. Mendoza References About the Contributors Index

How War Began

Author: Keith F. Otterbein
Publisher: Texas A&M University Press
ISBN: 9781585443307
Size: 76.88 MB
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Have humans always fought and killed each other, or did they peacefully coexist until states developed? Is war an expression of human nature or an artifact of civilization? Questions about the origin and inherent motivations of warfare have long engaged philosophers, ethicists, anthropologists as they speculate on the nature of human existence. In How War Began, author Keith F. Otterbein draws on primate behavior research, archaeological research, data gathered from the Human Relations Area Files, and a career spent in research and reflection on war to argue for two separate origins. He identifies two types of military organization: one which developed two million years ago at the dawn of humankind, wherever groups of hunters met, and a second which developed some five thousand years ago, in four identifiable regions, when the first states arose and proceeded to embark upon military conquests. In carefully selected detail, Otterbein marshals the evidence for his case that warfare was possible and likely among early Homo sapiens. He argues from analogy with other primates, from Paleolithic rock art depicting wounded humans, and from rare skeletal remains with embedded weapon points to conclude that warfare existed and reached a peak in big game hunting societies. As the big game disappeared, so did warfare—only to reemerge once agricultural societies achieved a degree of political complexity that allowed the development of professional military organizations. Otterbein concludes his survey with an analysis of how despotism in both ancient and modern states spawns warfare. A definitive resource for anthropologists, social scientists and historians, How War Began is written for all who are interested in warfare and individuals who seek to understand the past and the present of humankind.