A History in Ideas
This event includes a book signing
February 8, 2017
Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
This event is free; no tickets are required.
Harvard Book Store and Mass Humanities welcome Harvard's Lloyd C. Blankfein Professor of History DAVID ARMITAGE, author of The Declaration of Independence: A Global History, for a discussion of his latest book, Civil Wars: A History in Ideas.
About Civil Wars
A highly original history, tracing the least understood and most intractable form of organized human aggression from Ancient Rome through the centuries to the present day.
We think we know civil war when we see it. Yet ideas of what it is, and what it isn’t, have a long and contested history, from its fraught origins in republican Rome to debates in early modern Europe to our present day. Defining the term is acutely political, for ideas about what makes a war “civil” often depend on whether one is a ruler or a rebel, victor or vanquished, sufferer or outsider. Calling a conflict a civil war can shape its outcome by determining whether outside powers choose to get involved or stand aside: from the American Revolution to the war in Iraq, pivotal decisions have depended on such shifts of perspective.
The age of civil war in the West may be over, but elsewhere in the last two decades it has exploded—from the Balkans to Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, and Sri Lanka, and most recently Syria. And the language of civil war has burgeoned as democratic politics has become more violently fought. This book’s unique perspective on the roots and dynamics of civil war, and on its shaping force in our conflict-ridden world, will be essential to the ongoing effort to grapple with this seemingly interminable problem.
"Learned . . . Indispensable . . . [Armitage’s] book is a model of its kind: concise, winningly written, clearly laid out, trenchantly argued . . . His conclusion is sobering: human societies may never be without this kind of conflict, and we’re better off trying to understand it than ignoring its problematic nature. It’s hard to imagine a more timely work for today." —Publisher’s Weekly, starred review
"A probing examination of the history of civil war and why it matters to define it precisely . . . an erudite work by a top-shelf scholar." —Kirkus
"Civil wars, bloody and long-lasting, are the worst source of violent conflict in the world today. In this dazzling book, David Armitage illuminates this ancient scourge with fresh insight. Ranging from Rome to the American Civil War to Rwanda, powerfully using thinkers from Cicero to Rawls to make sense of centuries of revolutionary and nationalist turmoil, Civil Wars fully achieves the promise of a genuinely international history. Packed with wisdom and learning, elegantly written and vigorously argued, this is a magnificent field guide to our current crises in Syria and elsewhere." —Gary Bass, author of The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger and a Forgotten Genocide
Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes
As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.
Unable to attend a Harvard Book Store author event? You can still pre-order a signed book by one of our visiting authors.
While we can't guarantee fulfillment of a signed book pre-order, our authors are almost always able to sign extra books to fulfill such orders.
Ordering a signed book on harvard.com:
- Add the book to your shopping cart and then click Checkout.
- Specify in Order Comments that you want a signed copy of the book.
- Please note: online orders for signed copies must be placed at least one business day before the event. If you are ordering the day of, please call us instead.
Ordering a signed book by phone:
- Call us at (617) 661-1515 and one of our booksellers will take your order. Specify you'd like a signed copy.
- If you are requesting a personalized inscription and/or requesting your book be shipped, we'll need to take down credit card information. If you are planning to pick up the signed book in the store, you can pay on pick-up.
Can I request a personalized inscription?
Unless otherwise noted, we are happy to take requests for the author to sign your book to a specific person, but we can't guarantee it. If you do get a personalized inscription, the book will be non-returnable. We will require credit card information when you place the order.
Do signed books cost more?
There is no extra fee for a signed book!
Do I have to pick it up in the store, or can you deliver my signed book?
As with all web or phone orders, we can hold your book for in-store pickup, or ship it anywhere in the country.
I am planning to attend an author event. Do I need to pre-order a book?
No need. We'll be selling books at the event, and nearly all of our events include a signing at the end of the talk.
More questions? Give us a call!
Mass Humanities conducts and supports programs that use history, literature, philosophy, and the other humanities disciplines to enhance and improve civic life in Massachusetts. Learn more at masshumanities.org.
Featured event books will be for sale at the event for 20% off. Thank you for supporting this author series with your purchases.
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