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War and the Law of Nations


  • Page extent: 456 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.61 kg
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 (ISBN-13: 9780521729628)

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

 (Stock level updated: 11:00 GMT, 01 December 2015)


This ambitious 2005 volume is a history of war, from the standpoint of international law, from the beginning of history to the present day. Its primary focus is on legal conceptions of war as such, rather than on the substantive or technical aspects of the law of war. It tells the story, in narrative form, of the interplay, through the centuries, between, on the one hand, legal ideas about war and, on the other hand, state practice in warfare. Its coverage includes reprisals, civil wars, UN enforcement and the war on terrorism. This book will interest historians, students of international relations and international lawyers.

• First comprehensive overview of the history of war from the standpoint of international law • Sheds important historical perspective on modern issues such as self-defence, humanitarian intervention, the Cold War, civil wars and 'war' against non-state entities such as terrorism • ASIL 2007 prize winner


Table of cases; Table of treaties; Abbreviations; Introduction; Part I. War as Law Enforcement (to 1600): 1. Ares and Athena; 2. Loving enemies and hating sin; Part II. New Forces Stirring (1600–1815): 3. War in due form; 4. Dissension in the ranks; Part III. War as State Policy (1815–1919): 5. Collisions of naked interest; 6. Tame and half-hearted war: intervention, reprisal and necessity; 7. Civil strife; Part IV. Just Wars Reborn (1919– ): 8. Regulating war; 9. A farewell to war?; 10. New fields of battle; Conclusion; Bibliography.


'The scope of Neff's project is majestic, and his scholarly rigor in marshalling evidence on the subject of war from antiquity to today's war on terrorism is impressive. The book is written in an engaging manner likely to appeal to both law of war experts and generalists alike. Neff does not oversimplify, however, and handles even complex legal questions in a sophisticated and nuanced manner. He accordingly makes a substantial contribution to our understanding of the phenomenon of war.' Allen S. Weiner, The American Journal of International Law

'[Neff's] latest book is a spirited and enlightening addition to this literature … The narrative, written with brio and wit, is a delt synthesis of a seemingly vast array of state practice and scholarly doctrine stretching over many centuries. Of particular interest, originality and value is Neff's treatment of 'imperfect wars' or 'measures short of war' … spirited and sparkling book, which thoroughly deserved its Honourable Mention in the 2007 American Society of International law book prizes.' Cambridge Law Journal

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