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In this title, Rene Girard shows us a Clausewitz who is a fascinated witness of history's acceleration. In "Battling to the End", Rene Girard engages Carl von Clausewitz (1780-1831), the Prussian military theoretician who wrote "On War". Clausewitz, who has been critiqued by military strategists, political scientists, and philosophers, famously postulated that 'War is the continuation of politics by other means'. He also seemed to believe that governments could constrain war. Clausewitz, a firsthand witness to the Napoleonic Wars, understood the nature of modern warfare. Far from controlling violence, politics follows in war's wake: the means of war have become its ends. Rene Girard shows us a Clausewitz who is a fascinated witness of history's acceleration. Haunted by the French-German conflict, Clausewitz clarifies more than anyone else the development that would ravage Europe. "Battling to the End" pushes aside the taboo that prevents us from seeing that the apocalypse has begun. Human violence is escaping our control; today it threatens the entire planet.
Rene Girard is a member of the French Academy and Emeritus Professor at Stanford University. He is the recipient of the Modern Language Association's 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award. Benoit Chantre is President of l'Association Recherches Mimetiques.