Why We Fight

Mike Martin

A compelling look at the evolutionary psychology of violence and warfare.

Bibliographic Details
Why We Fight Hardback
May 2018£20.00

Request Press Review Copy
Request Inspection Copy

Why are we willing to die for our countries? How can ideology persuade someone to blow themselves up?

When we go to war, morality, religion and ideology often take the blame. But Mike Martin boldly argues that the opposite is true: rather than driving violence, these things help to reduce it. While we resort to ideas and values to justify or interpret warfare, something else is really propelling us towards conflict: our subconscious desires, shaped by millions of years of evolution.

Why We Fight will change the way we think about violence and ourselves. 


Mike Martin is a former British Army officer who has worked, travelled and lived all over the world in order to try and understand conflict. His previous books include A Brief History of Helmand, and An Intimate War: An Oral History of the Helmand Conflict. His Crossing the Congo:  Over Land and Water in a Hard Place, was shortlisted for the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Award 2016 in the category of Adventure Travel. Educated in biology and conflict, he is a War Studies Visiting Research Fellow at King’s College London.

Related Topics

Why We Fight is a pivotal book in the study of conflict. It brilliantly deploys recent discoveries in psychology and neuroscience to devastating effect. It has radical implications for policies for conflict reduction: identity and status need to supplant interests and ideology as the focal points for change.’ — Paul Collier, Professor of Economics and Public Policy, University of Oxford