War and Peace and War

War and Peace and War

The Rise and Fall of Empires

Written by: Peter Turchin

Additional Formats
  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780452288195
  • 416 Pages
  • Plume
  • Adult


Like Jared Diamond in Guns, Germs, and Steel, Peter Turchin in War and Peace and War uses his expertise in evolutionary biology to make a highly original argument about the rise and fall of empires.

Turchin argues that the key to the formation of an empire is a society’s capacity for collective action. He demonstrates that high levels of cooperation are found where people have to band together to fight off a common enemy, and that this kind of cooperation led to the formation of the Roman and Russian empires, and the United States. But as empires grow, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, conflict replaces cooperation, and dissolution inevitably follows. Eloquently argued and rich with historical examples, War and Peace and War offers a bold new theory about the course of world history.

War and Peace and War

War and Peace and War

Written by: Peter Turchin


TurchinÆs view of [history] from the perspective of an evolutionary biologist . . . promises a great deal. (The Times Higher Education Supplement)

Table of Contents

War And Peace And WarList of Maps

“So Peace Brings Warre and Warre Brings Peace”

Part I. Imperiogenesis—The Rise of Empires

1. A Band of Adventurers Defeats a Kingdom
Ermak’s Conquering Cossacks

2. Life on the Edge
The Transformation of Russia—and America

3. Slaughter in the Forest
At the Limites of the Roman Empire

4. Asabiya in the Desert
Ibn Khaldun Discovers the Key to History

5. The Myth of Self-Interest
And the Science of Cooperation

6. Born to Be Wolves
The Origins of Rome

7. A Medieval Black Hole
The Rise of the Great European Powers on Carolingian Marches

Part II. Imperiopathosis—The Fall of Empires

8. The Other Side of the Wheel of Fortune
From the Glorious Thirteenth Century into the Abyss of the Fourteenth

9. A New Idea of Renaissance
Why Human Conflict Is Like a Forest Fire and an Epidemic

10. The Matthew Principle
Why the Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Poorer

11. Wheels Within Wheels
The Many Declines of the Roman Empire

Part III. Cliodynamics—A New Kind of History

12. War and Peace and Particles
The Science of History

13. The Bowling Alley in History
Measuring the Decline of Social Capital

14. The End of Empire?
How the Mobile Phone Is Changing Cliodynamics