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War and Peace and War
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Review this product Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. Top reviews Most recent Top reviews. Top reviews from Japan. There are 0 reviews and 0 ratings from Japan. Top reviews from other countries. Verified Purchase. Human beings cooperate in their millions, a scale of sociability only equalled by some of the social insects - but those are highly interrelated. So two questions: how did large-scale societies emerge from small-scale hunter-gatherer groups in the not so distant past; and how were genetically-diverse humans able to make such a transition at all?
Compared to the dominance hierarchies of chimpanzees and gorillas, human hunter-gatherer groups are much more egalitarian. This is the basis for enhanced cooperation, necessary for cooperative hunting and defence against large predators. Around 11, years ago, however, there was a turn to agriculture, first seen in the middle-east.
Agrarian societies, even early, small-scale ones are not viewed with admiration by hunter-gatherers. They are inegalitarian and bad news for the overwhelming majority. Even the concept of private ownership of lands and crops is anathema to the HG mindset. Between and BCE we see the Axial Age, the period of great and less internally blood-thirsty empires. So again, why the transition? The empires themselves now became strong enough to engage in expansionary offensives against other states in winner-take-all conflicts.
The new great religions helped to pacify relationships within the empire, increasing both internal political stability and the cooperation which permits economies of scale.
And in an important sense, that has been the historical story to the present day. Most likely this has some causal input into why certain transitions took thousands of years: it seems unlikely that it merely took that long to come up with the required new ideas.
In summary, Peter Turchin has written a gripping, original, thought-provoking book which offers a new way of thinking about human history: it is highly recommended. Full disclosure: I am a Research Assistant on the Seshat Global History Databank project, which Turchin founded, and which he mentions in this book as the main tool through which he hopes to gather enough empirical data on the evolution of human society that he will be able to test his own and competing theories about how history unfolded as it has.
I loved the sheer scope and ambition of the book, and its eclectic and often unexpected connections--in support of his ideas, Turchin playfully and persuasively marshals things as diverse as the International Space Station, basketball, Indian Emperor Ashoka's attempts at vegetarianism, the Enron fiasco, big ape society, Hawaiian proverbs, John Woo films, and so on.
This is my kind of academia: one that does not care about the boundaries between disciplines, or indeed between "properly" academic subjects and ones that are less so. Moreover, Turchin remarkably avoids -centrisms of any kind, using data from places and civilizations as far afield as the Hawaii Kingdom, the New Guinea highlands, Northern India under Emperor Ashoka, Southern Africa under the Zulus, Australia, and the Eurasian steppe in the first millennium BC.
In fact, one of my favourite sections was a wonderfully articulated attack against History of Warfare books that often turn out to be devoted exclusively to Western warfare. Not everything works. Sometimes my mind found it hard to keep all the book's ideas together, so that, for example, despite the author's helpful summaries at the end of each chapter, I'm still left with a sense that the first half of the book was about cooperation, and the second half about warfare--even though the book's point is that the two have been inseparable in their influence over human history.
And the last chapter, which is largely a critique of Steven Pinker's idea that violence has steadily declined through human history, was a surprisingly dense and difficult read. Moreover, though I love the idea that World Religions such as Jainism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, and Zoroastrianism rose at the same time as the first mega-empires because they were a handy way of uniting ethnically diverse masses distributed across huge chunks of continent because they often preached some kind of egalitarianism, and were in theory open to all , I'm not entirely convinced that this applies to the Roman Empire, since its heyday long preceded its embrace of Christianity.
Clearly, more data is needed here! But that brings me to the final thing I really liked about this book, and perhaps the most important one: Turchin's "Good Scientist" attitude which I think is why I prefer him to all the Jared Diamonds out there and their penchant for Just-So Stories. As he himself says at the end of Chapter "Why should you believe that I have the correct explanation? Actually, I don't want you to believe it.
First and foremost I am a working scientist, and I know only too well that no theory in science can be the ultimate Truth with a capital T. Productive ideas lead to new theories and hypotheses and force us to modify others. Then we repeat the process.
As the German socialist Eduard Bernstein said in , 'the final goal is nothing; the movement is everything. All academics have pressure on them to publish. Books is even better for their publishing record.
This looks like it was produced for this reason. Peter Turchin is a good and interesting academic with much to say. However, this book is a waste of e-ink. It looks like he wrote the first draft in a couple of weeks and did little to improve it after that.
The book attempts to say that co-operation is good for society and that competition should be at the edges of co-operative regions, organisations or whatever. This competition is what creates new stuff.
This is all fine but could be said in a couple of pages. It also talks about the role of projectile weapons in equalising societies. It's quite a hawkish view of the world, but is negative toward individualism, which is fine by me.
However, I ultimately don't see what the title has to do with most of the book. It comes as doubly rich that he claims that the book as scientifically based, in opposition to Steven Pinker's just 'sciency' 'Better Angels'. This book contains no science at all, only opinion. I'm not saying it's not based on good models, but those models are not shown in the book there is one, very simple graph in the whole book. In fact the book seems to be simply an advert for his work and how great it is for anyone that will listen without including ANY of his work.
What a bizarre way to approach a book. Just look up his papers on academia. You'll get more out of them. Good quality, would repeat. Report abuse. Brilliant book. Will be writing a review in due course. See all reviews. There's a problem loading this menu right now. Learn more about Amazon Prime. Back to top. Get to Know Us. Amazon Payment Products. English Choose a language for shopping. Amazon Advertising Find, attract, and engage customers Audible Audio books read aloud for you.
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Cheryl J. Sergey Gavrilets DySoC dysoc. John D. Reeve Dept. Joseph G. University of Connecticut.
War and Peace and War by Peter Turchin
At its core, this book addresses the question raised by Asimov his protagonist Hari Seldon, a scientist of Psychohistory from the Foundation Trilogy : Is a science of history possible? Can we design a theory for the collapse of mighty empires that would be no worse than, say, our understanding of why earthquakes happen? Again, here's a nice succinct summary of the book from the author tl;dr :.
No other event on American soil has been as large-scale, destructive, and course-changing as the Civil War. Historians and novelists have written exhaustively about the violent conflict and its societal causes and repercussions, and continue to do so as they find new angles for exploration. Watch the video and read the full article. End of days: Is Western civilisation on the brink of collapse? So is there any evidence that the West is reaching its end game?
As of [update] , he is a director of the Evolution Institute. Peter Turchin was born in in Obninsk , Russia, and in he moved with his family to Moscow. In he enrolled at Moscow State University 's Faculty of Biology and studied there until , when his father, Soviet dissident Valentin Turchin , was exiled from the Soviet Union. In Turchin received a B.
Но нам известно, где. - И вы не хотите ничего предпринять. - Нет.
- Беккер не мог поверить, что это говорит он. Если бы Сьюзан слышала меня сейчас, - подумал. - Я тоже толстый и одинокий. Я тоже хотел бы с ней покувыркаться.