Causes of War

Causes of War


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Written by leading scholars in the field, Causes of War provides the first comprehensive analysis of the leading theories relating to the origins of both interstate and civil wars.

    Utilizes historical examples to illustrate individual theories throughout

  • Includes an analysis of theories of civil wars as well as interstate wars — one of the only texts to do both
  • Written by two former International Studies Association Presidents

Acknowledgments vi

1. Introduction to the Study of War 1

2. System-Level Theories 28

3. The Dyadic Interactions of States 55

4. The State and Societal Level 83

5. Decision-Making: The Individual Level 128

6. Decision-Making: The Organizational Level 162

7. Civil War 186

8. Conclusion: Refl ections on Levels, Causes, and War 205

References 224

Index 265

“In summary, this book can be considered as a useful source specifically for international relations students and researchers, and it may also be of interest for scholars, policy makers and strategists.” (Political Studies Review, 1 September 2011)

“Along the way are examples from recent history that may surprise the reader. At the very least, every member of Congress and the State Department should study this report.” (Book News Inc, November 2010)

Jack S. Levy is Board of Governors Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University. He is a former President of the International Studies Association (2007–8) and of the Peace Science Society (2005–6). His research focuses on the causes of war and on foreign policy decision-making.

William R. Thompson is Rogers Professor of Political Science at Indiana University and Managing Editor of International Studies Quarterly. He is a former President of the International Studies Association (2005–6). His ongoing research focuses on conflict and long-term international political economy.

To avoid war, one must first understand its causes. Written by two widely respected scholars – both former Presidents of the International Studies Association – this text provides a comprehensive analysis of the leading theories of both interstate war and civil war, along with a discussion of the changing nature of war over time.

Utilizing historical examples throughout and adopting a modified “levels-of-analysis” organizational framework, the authors cover systemic, interactional, state and societal level, and decision-making theories of interstate war. These are contrasted with an examination of the conditions and processes leading to civil war.

Scholarly and insightful, Causes of War offers a detailed examination of the sources of conflict between and within states and their implications for the future of international relations.

“A very impressive book. The most systematic, thorough, and informative review of contemporary scientific theories on the causes of war in print. Highly recommended not only for students and scholars, but policy makers and others who need to know about war and its most likely causes.”
John A. Vasquez, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

“Levy and Thompson are very highly regarded as leading scholars of war, and this terrific book reflects that preeminence. Up-to-date and timely without being faddish, the volume covers a remarkable range of theories and approaches, paying due attention to classic arguments in a contemporary context. Causes of War has a structure and clarity that will make this volume a joy to use in the classroom. The comprehensive coverage makes it an indispensable tool for every serious student of the topic.”
Colin Elman, Syracuse University

Additional information

Weight 13 oz
Dimensions 15 × 154 × 231 cm