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They Called It Peace Lauren Benton

They Called It Peace By Lauren Benton

They Called It Peace by Lauren Benton

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They Called It Peace Summary

They Called It Peace: Worlds of Imperial Violence by Lauren Benton

A sweeping account of how small wars shaped global order in the age of empires

Imperial conquest and colonization depended on pervasive raiding, slaving, and plunder. European empires amassed global power by asserting a right to use unilateral force at their discretion. They Called It Peace is a panoramic history of how these routines of violence remapped the contours of empire and reordered the world from the fifteenth to the twentieth centuries.

In an account spanning from Asia to the Americas, Lauren Benton shows how imperial violence redefined the very nature of war and peace. Instead of preparing lasting peace, fragile truces ensured an easy return to war. Serial conflicts and armed interventions projected a de facto state of perpetual war across the globe. Benton describes how seemingly limited war sparked atrocities, from sudden massacres to long campaigns of dispossession and extermination. She brings vividly to life a world in which warmongers portrayed themselves as peacemakers and Europeans imagined small violence as essential to imperial rule and global order.

Holding vital lessons for us today, They Called It Peace reveals how the imperial violence of the past has made perpetual war and the threat of atrocity endemic features of the international order.

About Lauren Benton

Lauren Benton is the Barton M. Biggs Professor of History at Yale University and recipient of the Toynbee Prize for significant contributions to global history. Her books include A Search for Sovereignty: Law and Geography in European Empires, 1400-1900 and (with Lisa Ford) Rage for Order: The British Empire and the Origins of International Law, 1800-1850.

Additional information

They Called It Peace: Worlds of Imperial Violence by Lauren Benton
Princeton University Press
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