The verdict of battle : the law of victory and the making of modern war
James Q. Whitman
Cambridge ; London : Harvard University Press, 2012
323 p. ; 24 cm
Today, war is considered a last resort for resolving disagreements. But a day of staged slaughter on the battlefield was once seen as a legitimate means of settling political disputes. The author argues that pitched battle was essentially a trial with a lawful verdict. And when this contained form of battle ceased to exist, the law of victory gave way to the rule of unbridled force. He explains why the ritualized violence of the past was more effective than modern warfare in bringing carnage to an end, and why humanitarian laws that cling to a notion of war as evil have led to longer, more barbaric conflicts.