Mercenaries, Pirates, and Sovereigns: State-Building and Extraterritorial Violence in Early Modern Europe


The contemporary organization of global violence is neither timeless nor natural, argues Janice Thomson. It is distinctively modern. In this book she examines how the present arrangement of the world into violence-monopolizing sovereign states evolved over the six preceding centuries. All may ... welcome [Thomson] as a fellow-grappler with that protean problem that confronts historians and ... social scientists alike: the shortcomings of international society [today], and the degree to which those shortcomings are attributable to the idea that `sovereign states' have of themselves, and the self-interested ways they tend to behave within it.--Geoffrey Best, The Times Literary Supplement Strike[s] at the heart of [the] assumption that a monopoly on violence is the hallmark of the state, ... [Thomson] is correct when she advises us that `state' and `sovereignty' are more mutable concepts than we might acknowledge or even admit. [A] major contribution to our understanding of international affairs and to the history of state- building.--Francis X. Hartigan, Terrorism and Political Violence Thomson's book is well worth reading. It is historically rich and theoretically erudite.--Michael C. Desch, Mershon International Studies Review

Additional information

Includes content by:
  • John Lewis Gaddis
  • Jack L. Snyder
  • Richard H. Ullman
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Princeton, NJ
Publication year:
  • 1994


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.