Sixteen million people have died in civil wars in the past 50 years. In view of that, civil wars may be the single most destabilizing force in world politics today. The only greater killer is the suffering that pushes individuals into them. Civil wars create regional and global instability that threatens economic initiatives and political continuity. Preventing civil wars is a challenge that the policy community is ill-equipped to handle. Rwanda is an example-a tragedy that the world did nothing to stop. Iraq and Afghanistan are tragedies the world did much to inflame. This book uses argument, evidence, and intuition born of experience to provide an account of civil wars and the steps we can take to reduce them.
“Read this book if you want to understand viscerally why people rebel. Pat Regan has talked with the embittered and dispossessed in Central America, the Occupied Territories, Bangladesh, and elsewhere and weaves their experiences into an analysis of how inequality, discrimination, and repression lead to civil conflict. If you want one book that summarizes our best understanding of the origins, processes, and outcomes of civil war, jargon-free and populated by real people, this is it.”
—Ted Robert Gurr, author of Why Men Rebel
“A magnificent introduction to the fundamental dilemmas facing a world that has witnessed some 16 million deaths due to civil war violence in the past half century. Never losing sight of the scientific findings in his field of study, Regan relates his own life history and those of rebels to illuminate the motivations that drive young men to violently confront established state armies. In observing and even interviewing rebels whose lives are precarious, he brings arcane theory down to everyday reality, proposing in the end practical actions that ordinary citizens can take to help stall the epidemic of civil wars.”
—David D. Laitin, the James T. Watkins IV and Elise V. Watkins Professor of Political Science, Stanford University
“An intimate account of the struggle to understand why civil wars occur and what we can do to prevent them. Regan deftly links his personal experiences with academic research on civil war. He presents a powerful message: People rise up against their governments when they have little else to lose; structural poverty stands as the root cause of civil war.”
—Scott Gates, Director, Centre for the Study of Civil War, PRIO and Professor of Political Science, Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Acknowledgments CAUSES Chapter 1: Discontent Chapter 2: Forewarnings Chapter 3: Houses Built on Sand Chapter 4: Tipping Point Chapter 5: Perfect Storm WHO FIGHTS? Chapter 7: Exclusion and Solidarity Chapter 8: Bloody Favoritism Chapter 9: Intransigence and Repression Chapter 10: Scylla and Charybdis WORLD STAGE Chapter 11: Lawyers, Guns, and Money Chapter 12: Persuasion Chapter 13: Blue Helmets and Bleu Cheese Chapter 14: The Road to Damascus Postscript Social Indicators of Economic Development for Countries Discussed in This Book Further Reading Index About the Author
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