How Civil Wars StartBarbara F. Walter

How Civil Wars Start

4.5 star

Total 173 Ratings

How Civil Wars Start by Barbara F. Walter Book Summary

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A leading political scientist examines the dramatic rise in violent extremism around the globe and sounds the alarm on the increasing likelihood of a second civil war in the United States

“Required reading for anyone invested in preserving our 246-year experiment in self-government.”—The New York Times Book Review

ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF 2022 SO FAR: Esquire, Financial Times

Political violence rips apart several towns in southwest Texas. A far-right militia plots to kidnap the governor of Michigan and try her for treason. An armed mob of Trump supporters and conspiracy theorists storms the U.S. Capitol. Are these isolated incidents? Or is this the start of something bigger? Barbara F. Walter has spent her career studying civil conflict in places like Iraq, Ukraine, and Sri Lanka, but now she has become increasingly worried about her own country.

Perhaps surprisingly, both autocracies and healthy democracies are largely immune from civil war; it’s the countries in the middle ground that are most vulnerable. And this is where more and more countries, including the United States, are finding themselves today.

Over the last two decades, the number of active civil wars around the world has almost doubled. Walter reveals the warning signs—where wars tend to start, who initiates them, what triggers them—and why some countries tip over into conflict while others remain stable. Drawing on the latest international research and lessons from over twenty countries, Walter identifies the crucial risk factors, from democratic backsliding to factionalization and the politics of resentment. A civil war today won’t look like America in the 1860s, Russia in the 1920s, or Spain in the 1930s. It will begin with sporadic acts of violence and terror, accelerated by social media. It will sneak up on us and leave us wondering how we could have been so blind.

In this urgent and insightful book, Walter redefines civil war for a new age, providing the framework we need to confront the danger we now face—and the knowledge to stop it before it’s too late.

How Civil Wars Start (Barbara F. Walter) Book Reviews

Caution AdvisedRead Yascha Mounk instead — it’s a better use of your time and money. It’s unfortunate to me that 8/9 chapters are look at the causes of civil war and just 1/9 examines how to avert war, which is a far, far more important, though perhaps less hot topic. This book must be read with caution. America is not gone. Let’s not let it slip by acting as though it is..Score: 2/5

Fascinating and Timely ReadingWater provides a succinct and detailed survey of just why factional conflicts occur both internationally and domestically. She emphasizes that such occurrences can be prevented through lowering the volume of social media misinformation on any divisive topic and creating a pool of informed citizenry alert to warning signs and change the outcome for the better..Score: 5/5

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