Dear Great Book Guru, My friends and I have decided to alternate fiction and non-fiction books for 2021. We read your suggestion LEAVE THE WORLD BEHIND for January so now we are looking for our February book. Any thoughts? February Book Searchers
Dear February Book Searchers, I just finished a rather controversial
book: WAR - How Conflict
Shaped Us, by Margaret MacMillan. The author describes the many ways war has influenced human society, looking into how geography, politics, and ideology have impacted how and why we fight. MacMillan asks the questions: when did the first war break out, are humans destined to wage war against each other, why is it warriors are almost always men, have there been peaceful cultures, are there any benefits to war? The author insists that war is part of civilization, bringing death and destruction, but also educational advances, innovations in medicine, science, and technology. In many ways this is a frightening book in that it sees strong warlike impulses as part of the human condition -from the games that young children play like “capture the flag” to video games such as the very popular “Call of Duty” to the many sporting events that mirror war with uniforms, awards, national anthems, and fierce partisan competition. Crossing back and forth between centuries of wars, she paints a pessimistic portrait of humans engaging in a never-ending battle. The final chapter hints that world peace is not unattainable but very unlikely. A fascinating and ultimately tragic history of humankind’s greatest scourge - highly recommended!