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Civilization has long sought to limit the violence and ugliness of war. This book traces the recent history of these efforts and explores important contemporary issues in the area. Geoffrey Best shows how the Second World War prompted reconstruction of international law, and charts the fortunes of its relations with war since then. He critically surveys the whole range of contemporary armed conflicts - high-tech international wars, wars of national liberation, revolutionary risings and civil wars. Far more than a litany of the trouble-spots and tragedies of the second half of the twentieth century, this book offers an original and thought-provoking approach to contemporary history, law, politics and ethics, and will be essential reading for anyone concerned with war. Reviews of the hardback edition: 'a magnificent exposition of the modern pursuit of legal restraint on warfare ...The lawyers of war and the international humanitarians would be well advised to ponder Bests Laws of War for its scholarly realism and its humanity.' - London Review of Books; 'He writes with enormous authority and at times, for such a heavy subject, a delightfully light touch ...In obliging us to take the very notion of the ethical conduct of war so seriously, Geoffrey Best has performed an enormous service.
' - Lawrence Freedman, History Today; 'This is an important book, which the specialists in this subject will refer to for decades to come.' - Noel Malcolm, Sunday Telegraph; 'To write a book of this character, which is scrupulous in never overstating success, and not lose faith in the process, you have to remain an optimist. Geoffrey Best has succeeded in doing this in his impressive study.' - A.W. Brian Simpson, Times Literary Supplement; '...ambitious, highly significant and courageous ...Interdisciplinary in approach, it is an important text for teachers, students and the practitioners of international relations alike ...Its conclusions, so relevant to the latter part of this century, should not be ignored.' - Dermot Keogh, Irish Times; '...affords new insights into war and its limits as defined by the law ...an interesting read ...Geoffrey Bests new book gives much food for thought to anyone interested in humanitarian law. It is well worth reading.' Hans-Peter Gasser, International Review of the Red Cross; 'Geoffrey Best does a signal service to lawyers, and to all students of the law of war, in his most recent examination of this field ...Dr Best has made an important contribution.
' - James J. Busuttil, International Relations; 'a sympathetic, intellectually tough and absolutely outstanding account of the contemporary role of the laws of war ...His writing is full of vivid imagery, enlivening what in other hands is often an arid landscape.' Adam Roberts, Survival.