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2 Works 280 Members 4 Reviews 1 Favorited

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Includes the name: Lawrence Keeley

Works by Lawrence H. Keeley

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Common Knowledge

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Excellent book on a very interesting subject. Author writes in a very clean and scientific way (as it is possible when book is aiming to general public) and points out to very complex social interactions and the way conflict - either raiding or full scale warfare - comes into life. Author aims at explaining that simple views are not a way to explain anything let alone causes of war (or peace). Final words, discussion and conclusions are one of the best topic-closures in any scientific book I have read.… (more)
 
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Zare | 3 other reviews | Jan 23, 2024 |
I thought the book was rather good. It covered material which by and large I am not familiar. The argument, which I buy, is that primitive cultures were in fact warlike and not peaceful. That instinct was born out by the book.

I gave the book three stars for two reasons; repetition and some inaccurate facts. The latter involved an area that I know something about, Canada. The book was way too generous with Canada's treatment of the First Nations, as they are called there. The book totally omits any mention of the hanging of Louis Riel.

One of the more fascinating points didn't directly concern ancient history but related to modern history. The author discusses the discomfort Westerners have with combating guerilla war tactics, in modern times called terrorism, with similar tactics. Daily the headlines blare about terror attacks by modern tribal warriors, i.e. Arabs migrating to Western societies. The fact is we are more comfortable with candlelight vigils than really fighting back.

Other than that I enjoyed reading the book.
… (more)
 
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JBGUSA | 3 other reviews | Jan 2, 2023 |
There are an awful lot of myths out there about primitive societies -- ranging from "they don't fight" to "they can't fight." Keeley gives a comprehensive picture of "War Before Civilization," showing that primitive peoples tend to see a lot more warfare than more advanced ones, and moreover, that they're good at what they do. When a civilization defeats a tribe (especially now, in the 19th and 20th centuries, after technology has tilted so far away from the intimidated mass and towards the brave, disciplined individual fighter), it's a matter of throwing more troops at them than they can hope to defeat, or perhaps hiring and arming other primitives to beat them. And the cutting edge of modern war is learning how to fight in tiny units of concealed skirmishers again (although the modern style involves assaulting much more often than primitives normally have stomach, for -- and in fairness, many primitive wars _are_ fought in a manner that the 18th century would recognize, just with less talent and discipline. The Apaches won for the longest time -- but the Igbo lost).… (more)
 
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ex_ottoyuhr | 3 other reviews | Dec 22, 2008 |

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Works
2
Members
280
Popularity
#83,034
Rating
3.9
Reviews
4
ISBNs
9
Languages
2
Favorited
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