Armitage’s latest book is a history of modern Western thought about civil wars from the seventeenth century to the present day. He reasonably argues that such a work is valuable because most current wars are civil wars that tend to be long, deadly, prone to recurrence, and especially disruptive to the societies in which they are fought. He defends his Western focus by showing that Western thought has shaped the modern international norms and international institutions to which we look to address contemporary civil conflicts.

The book focuses especially on the English Civil War, the American Revolution, the U.S. Civil War, and the civil wars of the Roman Republic, though he discusses many other conflicts as well. Armitage cogently demonstrates that Roman thought regarding civil wars heavily influenced modern Western thinking on the subject. Some of the writers that he considers are Lucan, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Immanuel...

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