Christopher Blattman

Why We Fight

Why We Fight

The Roots of War and the Paths to Peace


It's easy to overlook that most of the time, war doesn't happen. Around the world there are millions of hostile rivalries, yet only a tiny fraction erupt into violence. With a counterintuitive approach, Blattman reminds us that most rivals loathe one another in peace. That's because war is too costly to fight. Enemies almost always find it better to split the pie than spoil it or struggle over thin slices. So, in those rare instances when fighting ensues, what kept rivals from compromise?

Why We Fight draws on decades of economics, political science, psychology, and real-world interventions - drawing on examples from vainglorious European monarchs to African dictators and British football hooligans - to lay out the root causes and remedies for war, showing that violence is not the norm; that there are only five reasons why conflict wins over compromise; and how peacemakers turn the tides through tinkering, not transformation. Realistic and optimistic, this is book that lends new meaning to the old adage, "Give peace a chance."