America’s War And Peace Cycles: 1686 To Present, With Projections, by Dennis J. Foley
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Reedsy Discovery. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
This book expresses both some insight and the limited capacity of people to predict the future. It also expresses a notable example of the human tendency to attempt to make the facts fit one’s own theories. It is not objectionable that there should be cycles of war and peace in the United States and in other areas. The blog site on which this review is posted takes its name from insights drawn from a book called War And Peace And War which discusses these cycles as they relate to the formation and decay of imperial nations. This particular work is not quite so insightful but it certainly does provide a very intriguing glance at the cyclical pattern of American history that look at periods of roughly symmetrical rising and falling tensions that are released in some sort of violence, and that these patterns tend to exist not only in the United States but around the world as a whole and occasionally impact other nations to a great degree. The author tends to feel free to switch between a focus on the United States and the rest of the world as a whole when it suits his interests.
In terms of its contents, this book is a short one that consists mostly of charts. The author does not have a great deal in the way of literary pretensions but wishes to convey patterns of rising and falling conflict over the course of American history from the colonial period to the present day. The book is overall a bit more than 50 pages in length, and opens with the author discussing his background and goals with the work. After that come a series of overall time cycles that the author views as being related to war and peace starting from the period just before King William’s War and continuing on to an estimated end of the peace cycle at 2042 that claims there will be a period of increasing peace for the United States between 2022 and 2042 or so. The author then goes about looking for all number of conflicts or avoidances of conflict in order to support his theory of war and peace cycles, some of which make a lot more sense than others and all of which the author views as being very striking.
Overall this book is useful as data and beneficial to the extent that it encourages people to think about cycles of history and to ponder the sort of times that we find ourselves in. The author’s predictions can be taken with a grain or ten of salt, and there are clearly cases where the author is trying to shoehorn the facts to fit his chronological scheme. For example, the author’s prophecy of what would happen after 2002 is laughable given that the Iraq War began during one of the author’s periods of purported peace, and the author assumed that further terrorist attacks would motivate conflict after 2005, a case of false prophecy that should have been changed before this book was released. Likewise, the author’s attempt to support his theory about war and peace cycles by switching from the United States to Latin America when there was a prolonged period of peace and “good feelings” in the United States was pretty notable as well. It seems likely that somewhere in the world there is the sort of evidence that could always be fit into a tidy scheme like this, even if the author doesn’t always choose the right ones.