Usually my Friday posts are about a book I’ve already read, and usually the book has to fit a few selection criteria: profundity, fictionality, and freethinking authors or themes. This week, I’m throwing out my usual selection criteria in favor of just one: Does the book attempt to answer a vital question? It seems to me that the question of whether we can progress as a species towards ending organized violence is inestimably vital, and The End of War goes a long way towards answering that question in the affirmative.
While accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, President Obama declared that “We must begin by acknowledging the hard truth: we will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes.” Horgan does yeoman’s work here in proving him wrong, drawing on such disparate fields as genetics, anthropology, and policital science in the process. While I myself will probably never be as optimistic as Horgan, he has at least convinced me to stop being so damned fatalist about it. Now I just need to find a new line of work.