Gwynne Dyer

‘Dyer is an accomplished military historian who bolsters his extensive knowledge with a rhetorical style that is at once invisible and entirely convincing. Structurally the book accordions in and out from the psychology or individual soldiers, to the workings or whole armies, to broader historical movements and how they change (and stay the same) through time. It is a powerful effect, and one that ultimately makes this book at once a valuable historical treatise and a fervent and compelling call toward pacifism.’ Publishers Weekly

A fully updated edition to be published in the UK for the first time. Noted military historian Gwynne Dyer ranges from the tumbling walls of Jericho and primitive tribal skirmishes to the modern advent of total war, showing conclusively that the basic tenets of war remain unchanged. The only real change has been technological, permitting us to make war on a mass scale.

“War is part of our history, but it is not part of our prehistory. It is one of the innovations that occurred between nine and eleven thousand years ago when the first civilised societies were coming into being. What has been invented can be changed; war is not in our genes.”

Dyer squarely confronts the reality of war, but does not despair that war is our eternal legacy, believing that ultimately it can be abolished. WAR is an award-winning book, widely regarded as one of the most compelling analyses of the history of armed conflict, which explores the human past to imagine a different future.


‘Brilliant… An inspiringly rational book, written with dry wit and a resigned wisdom: to the brutal follies of mankind. This is a rare history of war; it rekindles hope, too.’ Newark Star Ledger

‘Provocative, agile and very well argued, with an a-ha! moment on nearly every page.’ Kirkus Reviews

‘His book is no simple narrative but a web of connections. The text ranges over the terrain of history, sparkling with insight and digressions… As an interpretive history of war, War is brilliant.’ The Seattle Times

‘Gwynne Dyer is one of Canada’s best known defence and foreign policy analysts.’ National Post

‘A highly readable history of human warfare.’ Times Colonist (Victoria)

‘Dyer’s clear language and convincing case-building tow the reader along… I envy Dyer for his optimism. And I envy the generation he envisions who claims victory in its war on war.’ Books in Canada


  • Random House/Vintage Canada
  • Periscope UK
  • Arab Scientific Press World Arabic
  • Tekin Turkey
  • Previous edition published by:
  • Belacqua Ediciones S.L Spain (reverted)
  • Kragozor Bulgaria (reverted)
  • Borgen Forlag Denmark (reverted)
  • Jiangsu People’s Publishing House China (reverted)

Material: finished copies (480pp)