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Constant Battles: Why We Fight (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 1. August 2004


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Produktinformation

Produktbeschreibungen

Pressestimmen

"Constant Battles is a well-armed rebuttal to the notion that our ancestors all just got along."

"Timely reading offers a serious critique of ''rational choice'' by our leaders for short-term ends as leading to disaster." -- William H. Leckie, Jr. "St. Louis Post-Dispatch" (03/30/2003)

"Timely reading offers a serious critique of 'rational choice' by our leaders for short-term ends as leading to disaster."--William H. Leckie, Jr. "St. Louis Post-Dispatch "

"Timely reading... LeBlanc's short book makes accessible to general readers controversial ideas well-known in (archaeology)... (and) offers a serious critique of both 'rational choice' by our leaders for short-term ends and of environmental neglect in a market economy as leading to disaster."
-"St. Louis Post-Dispatch"
"In a provocative and simulating book, Steven LeBlanc places warfare at the center of human existence. He sees it as a constant battle over scarce resources from the earliest days of our history. In so doing, he gives us hope for the future, in a world where we have the potential to feed everyone. He gives us an important contribution to a growing debate over the causes and future of war."
"-"Brian Fagan, professor of Anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara, and author of "The Little Ice Age"


In a provocative and simulating book, Steven LeBlanc places warfare at the center of human existence. He sees it as a constant battle over scarce resources from the earliest days of our history. In so doing, he gives us hope for the future, in a world where we have the potential to feed everyone. He gives us an important contribution to a growing debate over the causes and future of war.--Brian Fagan, professor of Anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara, and author of The Little Ice Age

Timely reading... LeBlanc's short book makes accessible to general readers controversial ideas well-known in (archaeology)... (and) offers a serious critique of both 'rational choice' by our leaders for short-term ends and of environmental neglect in a market economy as leading to disaster. "St. Louis Post-Dispatch"

In a provocative and simulating book, Steven LeBlanc places warfare at the center of human existence. He sees it as a constant battle over scarce resources from the earliest days of our history. In so doing, he gives us hope for the future, in a world where we have the potential to feed everyone. He gives us an important contribution to a growing debate over the causes and future of war. Brian Fagan, professor of Anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara, and author of The Little Ice Age"

Synopsis

LeBlanc brilliantly argues that warfare has been a part of human existence throughout history. He uncovers a six-million-year-old equation of population growth, resource stress, and warfare as he surveys the archaeological, ethnographic, and historical records from cultures around the world. This distinguished book explores the implications of his findings by considering if humans are doomed by genetic heritage to fight each other, and arrives at a hopeful conclusion: by understanding why humans fought in the past, modern man, with technology and awareness, can avoid warfare in the future.

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Amazon.com: 4.1 von 5 Sternen 13 Rezensionen
11 von 13 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Judicious Reappraisal of Earlier Human Societies 14. Juni 2007
Von Marty - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
From the above reviews of LeBlanc's "Constant Battles," we can clearly see that the "noble savage" interpretation of pre-history engenders strong emotional responses, more in the vein of current TV political shows where name calling is the norm and less in the vein of academic discourse where there should be an appeal to facts and clear reasoning. In fact, in approaching this subject, it might be best to try and put both emotions and political views, if not aside, at least in the background.

LeBlanc is quite clear in stating his own academic history with this topic, the need for this and other studies on the topic, his methodology and his copious citations from peer reviewed scholarship. In addition, he points out that a very large portion of previous scholarship on early human societies assumed a great deal about the pacifist nature of these societies in the face of often clear but nearly universally overlooked evidence as to the bellicose nature of humans and our simian relatives, the chimpanzees.

To these ends, then, LeBlanc provides readers with an amply researched and argued thesis about the ubiquitous nature of warfare among human societies that is often triggered by a given group exceeding their own territory's "carrying capacity." In fact, this thesis is one that is echoed by Jared Diamond in his "Collapse" where Diamond provides clear cut evidence that much contemporary war is caused by environmental distress squeezing out carrying capacity.

Btw, one reviewer refers to the "Human Resource Area Files" when its proper title is, in fact, the "Human Relations Area Files." You know, lads, if you are going to muster evidence, at least get the names of your witnesses correct and do not lie by saying that LeBlanc ignores peer reviewed literature when he actually cites it throughout this useful volume. I, as a professor who teaches early art and culture, find this book a refreshing addition to my course material. But, then again, I would expect this from LeBlanc, who has a Ph.D. in Archeology and is currently at Harvard.
5 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen More like Frequent Battles I think 19. Juni 2007
Von Alex K - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
The title seems to be more biased than the book. The book actually does not claim that all peoples have always been in "constant battles", he does not try to avoid talking about known non-agressive and peaceful peoples at all. He is debunking the "peaceful past" myth quite well, but when I read the book, I get a picture about "mostly warlike" past instead of "constantly warlike" one. I tend to agree that there was lots of wars and violence in the past. I am more suspicious about LeBlancs claims about constant "overexploitation of the environment" of the prehistoric and modern humans.

LeBlank does not appear to be very focused on the subjects of his chapters. Instead he likes to change the subject constantly between prehistoric foragers, chimpanzees and world wars, gulf war and so on. In most of time, it is interesting reading, sometimes is his point hard to follow. For example, he argues that modern "warlords" are actually pre-state tribal governments as they have existed about thousands of years (I agree with that very much) and then next sentence brings in collapse of Yugoslavia as an example (Does he think that Slovenia was a "chiefdom" ? What has a conflict between parts of modern, bureocratic state to do with pre-state tribal conflicts ?).
4 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Good book for undergrads 10. Oktober 2010
Von Fools and Sages - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
I decided to assign this book to an undergraduate seminar course on violence and warfare because LeBlanc has a readable writing style and he doesn't get bogged down in too much analysis. The funny thing is that this is both the main strength and the main weakness of this book. LeBlanc provides many references to many case studies, yet he fully develops very few. This leaves an academic who is not a scholar of warfare feeling as though much of the book is mere speculation. However, if one is familiar with the literature cited, one can see the utility of the generality. The utility resides in LeBlanc's ability to provide concise summaries of the ethnographic and historical material that has allowed anthropologists and archaeologists to develop models for interpreting warfare among foragers, simple farming societies, and complex societies. LeBlanc cites many sources, which will allow me to find comprehensible journal articles dealing with warfare evidence in different times and places to use in the course as case studies. As a former student of Keith Otterbein, LeBlanc's books says very little I had not heard before or read in either Dr. Otterbein's work or Lawrence Keeley's. However, Leblanc's work is easier than either of the other books (one by Otterbein and one by Keeley) to understand and that makes it a better choice for an undergrad class. If this were a graduate course, I would be assigning Otterbein's How War Began.
11 von 16 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen the obvious, supported by opinion and anecdote 14. Februar 2011
Von Sam Thayer - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
This book has two main points: that people often fight physically, and that they have always placed excessive pressure on their food resources. The first of these contentions seems self-evident, although many anthropologists and archaeologists have seemed not to recognize or acknowledge its importance. I give Leblanc two stars for effectively making this point and even supporting it with some good arguments--even though he extraordinarily exaggerates the prevalence of contradictory opinion within his field and among the general public. For the most part his ideas are not new; in fact, I really have to wonder why the book was even written and published. It adds little to the world's understanding of human (pre)history.

The second point, that people have always placed excessive pressure on their food resources, is not demonstrated or argued directly for pre-agricultural societies in the book. Instead, it is supported by a sort of circular logic: since they fought, they must have fought due to competition over food, so they obviously were living at carrying capacity. This is probably true, but counterintuitive explanations for behavior are sometimes valid; Leblanc is so sure of himself that he fails to consider actually providing any real evidence for his argument. Instead, he resorts to debunking a straw-man myth of his own creation: the supposedly prevalent belief that foragers were "conservationists who lived in perfect harmony with nature." Here his logic becomes absurd. He defines "conservationist" in such a narrow sense that no human society could ever achieve it, and tests the hypothesis that foragers were conservationists against implications that have no relation to real life or reasonable inquiry. Apparently, in order to be "conservationists," people would have to maintain perfectly stable populations over many millennia while also guaranteeing that all sympatric organisms in their landscape do the same, even when that means starving to death in the short term. To say the least, that would be hard. For him to pretend that any other anthropologist, archaeologist, or intelligent person believes that foragers did this is simply childish and reveals a subtle desperation that probably results from his internal recognition that he in fact has no argument, nor evidence, to support his contention. His point is weaker for this perverse method of arguing, and weakened further still by his returning to this "inherent conservationist" test in every chapter of the book. It would have been better had he left his supposition that people were constantly under nutritional stress in prehistory as simply a conjecture--which it is--instead of pretending to demonstrate it through specious and illogical arguments that only reveal frailty. (The widespread belief that foragers live more "in harmony" with local ecology than agricultural civilizations [this is a belief held by real people, as opposed to Leblanc's imaginary projected belief in perfect conservationists] is so well founded and supported by almost boundless and unequivocal evidence that Leblanc knows he would look ridiculous to argue the point--in fact he repeatedly acknowledges it in the book.) In fact, the whole discussion of the "inherent conservationist" myth is just a proxy argument about population pressure that could have been left out altogether; a direct discussion of population pressure would have been clearer and more effective.

There's not much else in here. He just keeps repeating the same arguments in slightly different contexts, which serves to make his obvious point still obvious, while his other point remains unmade by scarcely relevant ramblings.

There are some other general comments about the book. First, the editing is probably the worst that I have ever seen in something that is at least quasi-academic. The author uses words incorrectly, has disagreement between sentence components, leaves words out, repeats himself repeatedly. Not arcane stuff--stuff that any reader would notice. It's as if the book had no real editor-just a spell-checker. Many of Leblanc's arguments are surprisingly disorganized, filled with tangential and irrelevant fluff. He also engages in the kind of pseudo-scientific sensationalism that should make his peers scoff at the book; using words like "proves" or "demonstrates" or "shows" for weak anecdotal evidence where a real scientist would use terms such as "suggests" or "supports"--if they chose to include the evidence at all.

It's OK to have a chip on your shoulder, but if you're going to engage in strident criticism, at least make your point competently. And if you want to write a book, try finding a book's worth of content.
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen I particularly like the fact that the author states right from the ... 22. August 2014
Von Alma Jeanne Carman - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
I particularly like the fact that the author states right from the start that this is not a PC book written to accommodate the university faculty committee. He says it just like it is about the purposeful slanting of academic views on warfare in prehistoric cultures and he cites many examples to support his claim that man has always been susceptible to warfare on a regular basis and that the myth promulgated about our peaceful and environmentally correct ancestors is nothing but a view wanting to be believed by current theorists who want to explain the current world situations as the outcome of current geo-political activities rather than human nature.
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