War and Peace and War
The Life Cycles of Imperial Nations
Why do some nations, initially small and insignificant, go on to build mighty empires, while most nations fail to do so? And why do those successful empire-builders always eventually lose their empires? Peter Turchin, a leading thinker in the highly technical field of population dynamics, lucidly presents for the first time an approach to understanding the world's great powers throughout history--with powerful implications for nations today. Turchin shows how the edges of empires are the crucibles of new long-lived empires and how processes of decline inevitably follow on a 1000 year cycle. This sweeping work of social science culminates with a crisp declaration of the general principles of the science of history. A short final section considers Tolstoy and free will in a world of historical cycles, and includes an incisive look at the U.S. now.