It is said that war is rooted in the vested interests of the ruling class, but haven't democracies proved to be just as bellicose as other states? It is believed that political disputes should be settled by civilized negotiations, but what if the adversary is not, by accepted standards, "civilized"?Should states steer clear of other states' internal conflicts, or should they help liberate oppressed peoples? Which is the better option: appeasement or launching a war to end another? These questions reflect the complex issues that lie at the heart of the liberal conscience.In his timely book, Michael Howard recounts the centuries-long struggle by liberals to understand the causes of war and prevent its occurrence. From the days of Erasmus to American protestors who hoped to bring an end to the Vietnam war, Howard tracks liberals' shifting attitudes toward war and their attempts to wrestle with its problematic consequences. In conclusion, Howard finds that peacemaking is "a task which has to be tackled afresh every day of our lives."
Michael Howard OM, CH, CBE, MC was formerly Chichele Professor of the History of War and Regius Professor of Modern History at the University of Oxford.