Cover: War: Controlling Escalation, from Harvard University PressCover: War in E-DITION


Controlling Escalation

Available from De Gruyter »

Product Details


$65.00 • £54.95 • €60.00

ISBN 9780674434561

Publication Date: 01/31/1978

419 pages


Related Subjects

Harvard University Press has partnered with De Gruyter to make available for sale worldwide virtually all in-copyright HUP books that had become unavailable since their original publication. The 2,800 titles in the “e-ditions” program can be purchased individually as PDF eBooks or as hardcover reprint (“print-on-demand”) editions via the “Available from De Gruyter” link above. They are also available to institutions in ten separate subject-area packages that reflect the entire spectrum of the Press’s catalog. More about the E-ditions Program »

The risk that conflicts may escalate “out of control” is one of the greatest dangers confronting the world today. Experts are generally agreed that an atomic war would not come by sudden, all-out attack, because leaders everywhere know what retaliation they would face. The real danger is that some smaller conflict might grow larger and larger, at some point getting out of anyone’s control.

Despite its importance, escalation has received astonishingly little study by specialists. Now, in War: Controlling Escalation, Richard Smoke offers the first comprehensive, scientific examination of escalation processes and the first systematic attempt to find ways to control escalation. He examines in depth five major cases in modern history where escalation occupied center stage. Focusing on the question “How does escalation get out of control?” Smoke takes care to study not only factors at work in wars where this occurred, but also factors preventing it where this might have occurred but did not. The result is an all-inclusive analysis of how escalation processes work and what can be done to halt and control them. Throughout, the author maintains a pragmatic, operational focus, concluding with a set of practical “questions” that decision-makers can ask of their information in trying to keep escalation under control in future conflicts.

Recent News

From Our Blog

Jacket, What Remains: Bringing America’s Missing Home from the Vietnam War, by Sarah Wagner, from Harvard University Press

Remembering Our Veterans during a Pandemic

Social distancing will make this Memorial Day quite different from what we are used to. Sarah Wagner, author of What Remains: Bringing America’s Missing Home from the Vietnam War, shows the way she’s chosen to remember and honor veterans during these challenging times. Dispatch from DC: Memorial Day weekend in the nation’s capital will be different this year. No motorcycles rumbling around the Nati

‘manifold glories of classical Greek and Latin’

The digital Loeb Classical Library ( extends the founding mission of James Loeb with an interconnected, fully searchable, perpetually growing virtual library of all that is important in Greek and Latin literature.