Academic journal article Naval War College Review

The Making of Peace: Rulers, States, and the Aftermath of War

Academic journal article Naval War College Review

The Making of Peace: Rulers, States, and the Aftermath of War

Article excerpt

Murray, Williamson, and Jim Lacey, eds. The Making of Peace: Rulers, States, and the Aftermath of War. New York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2009. 408pp. $93

There are countless books written on war but fewer on the problems of postwar or even intrawar peacemaking. This work thus offers top-quality case studies on a subject of enormous relevance. It will be of value to policy makers, academics, and general readers alike.

The Making of Peace is a collection of essays written by eminent historians known mainly for their writings on war. Sir Michael Howard's preface sets the bar high, observing that the usual war/peace dichotomy is artificial, since the historical default is perpetual conflicts "that need not necessarily be resolved by force, and it is the business of statesmen to ensure that they are not."

The book's central argument is that effective peacemaking requires in-depth knowledge of the past; a healthy awareness of the political, historical, and cultural context within which a war has taken place; and a full appreciation of the characteristics of the "other." As Murray writes in the introduction, "Without guideposts from the past to suggest paths to the future, then any road, no matter how irrelevant and inappropriate, will do. And such roads will inevitably lead to future conflicts." However, that is not to imply that there are easy solutions. At the core of this book are eleven rich case studies of postwar peacemaking in the Western world, including chapters by, of course, Williamson Murray, as well as Paul Rahe, Derek Croxton and Geoffrey Parker, Fred Anderson, Richard Hart Sinnreich, James McPherson, Marcus Jones, John Gooch, Colin Gray, Jim Lacey, and Fred Kagan. …

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