Review of ‘Why We Fight’—forthcoming in Faith & Economics

About a year ago I became the Book Review Editor at Faith & Economics, a peer-reviewed economics journal published by the Association of Christian Economists. It has been a rewarding experience so far. Our last issue, for example, included reviews of Scott Cunningham’s Causal Inference: The Mixtape, Thomas Piketty’s Capital and Ideology, Paul Oslington’s Political Economy as Natural Theology, W. Kip Viscusi’s Pricing Lives, and Paul Wilson’s A Sacred Journey.

I chose to review Chris Blattman’s new book Why We Fight: The Roots of War and the Paths to Peace, as I have been anticipating the release of this book for quite some time now. My review, which is forthcoming in Faith & Economics is available as a pre-print here. Here are the first two paragraphs of my review:

Matthew’s Beatitudes include the well-known phrase, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9). But how do we most effectively make peace on earth?

In his first book, Christopher Blattman—a well-known development economist, University of Chicago Professor, and policy blogger—presents, distills, and summarizes several decades of research in economics, political science, psychology, biology, sociology, and practical experience about peacemaking in a world that often seems all too violent. Blattman begins by turning the casual observation that the world is violent and full of conflict on its head. Many believe that war is easy and peace is hard, but Blattman argues that fighting is hard and getting to peace is easier than we often tend to think.

I am likely not the first, and will not be the last, to suggest that Blattman’s book is widely applicable, insightful, and engaging. But, nevertheless, go read this book!

Also, if you have an interest in writing a book review for Faith & Economics, please contact me. The process can be rewarding, and many book publishers send potential reviewers a copy of the book for free.

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