The Lethal Custom
|Ranging from the tumbling walls of Jericho to the modern advent of total war in which no child or civilian is exempt from the horrors of combat, the author shows how the martial instinct has evolved over the human generations. He demonstrates that the underlying purpose of war has remained unchanged while technology has developed to such a degree that were total combat to break out among the great powers, a million people could be dead before worldwide media reported the conflict.
Squarely confronting the reality of war, the threat of nuclear weapons, and the specter of terrorism, Dyer asks such probing questions as: “Will open access to the channels of mass communication create enough shared values that we can move beyond mass warfare?,” “Is the threat of terrorism a red herring designed to preserve the military status quo?,” “Can our traditional military and administrative hierarchies contribute to conflict resolution?”
Within the answers to these questions, there is hope—real hope—that war, like slavery, is an institution that can be abolished.
Abundantly illustrated, from paintings found in the Egyptian pyramids to searing photographs from contemporary news magazines, War is an unput-downable account of mankind’s most destructive tradition.