Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace
Military History
5 x 9, 128 pp.
Pub Date: 06/01/2000
Foreign Relations and the Presidency
  cloth
Price:        $29.95 x

978-0-89096-953-3
  paper
Price:        $14.95 s

978-1-58544-105-1

Published by Texas A&M University Press

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Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace

By Robert A. Divine

Americans consider themselves a peaceful people. Yet every generation since colonial times has taken part in war. Why? Does something in our democratic creed lead us repeatedly into hostilities? Does the American sense of mission demand that we take up arms to transform the world into our own image? Do baser motives drive national policy? Is there, in short, a distinctive American motive and style of war?

Distinguished diplomatic historian Robert A. Divine considers these questions in a thoughtful retrospective of the wars of the twentieth century. He examines the process of going to war and seeks patterns showing how and why the nation becomes involved in hostilities. He then turns to the way the United States wages war, looking at how it uses force to achieve political ends. Finally, he considers how leaders bring wars to an end, a process that sheds perhaps the most light of all on the national character. Repeatedly, Divine concludes, America seeks to use warfare to create a better and more stable world, only to meet with unexpected outcomes and the seeds of new hostility. Ironically, Divine finds that America's high ideals continually prevent the very peace the nation seeks.

In the epilogue, Divine applies his points to the final American war of the century, the conflict in Kosovo, which is

Robert A. Divine is the George W. Littlefield Professor Emeritus at the University of Texas at Austin, where he taught for more than forty years. A specialist in American diplomatic history, his books include Blowing on the Wind, Eisenhower and the Cold War, and The Sputnik Challenge.

What Readers Are Saying:

“Robert Divine draws on 40 years as a distinguished historian and great teacher to explain why Americans have uniquely entered, and ended, their wars —Then places Clinton’s war in Kosovo in this instructive framework. This book should be central in the 21st century debate over why Americans so regularly send their young men and women into battle.” --Walter LaFeber, Cornell University

“. . .Divine’s book is thought provoking. I recommend that all military professionals, especially military strategists, read his book.” --Military Review

“Spending the time it takes to appreciate it . . . is well worth the investment.” --Parameters

“Reading this book is not only informative but is a pleasure. I would recommend this book to anyone who cannot get the chance to listen to a series of Dr. Divine’s lectures in person. In this work, readers will find a thought-provoking discussion of one of the most important and controversial aspects of American foreign policy.” --Rhetoric & Public Affairs

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