The Art of War

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the history and philosophy of warfare. The British historian Edward Gibbon wrote: “Every age, however destitute of science or virtue, sufficiently abounds with acts of blood and military renown.” War, it seems, is one of mankind’s most constant companions, one that has blighted the lives and troubled the minds of men and women from antiquity onwards. Plato envisaged a society without war, but found it had no arts, no culture and no political system. In our own time the United Nations struggles but often fails to prevent the outbreak of conflict. But how has war been understood throughout the ages? Who has it served and how has it been justified? Is war inherent to human beings or could society be organised to the exclusion of all conflict?

Play on BBC Sounds website


  • Sir Michael Howard 3 episodes
    Emeritus Professor of Modern History at the University of Oxford
  • Angie Hobbs 24 episodes
    Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Warwick
  • Jeremy Black 8 episodes
    Professor of History at the University of Exeter

Related episodes

Programme ID: p00548zm

Episode page:

Auto-category: 355 (Military science)