Wars always harm civilians. How wars are waged—with what means and methods, and with what underlying animus—has great impact on civilian suffering and social memory. Across time frames and cultures, this book examines the various distinct features of anti- and post-colonial wars, the two World Wars, and recent wars of the 21st century in terms of their disruption of everyday life and their enduring distortion of social ecosystems. With a lens trained on how civilians and soldiers remember the experience of armed conflict, Legacies of War challenges narrow conceptions of the cost of war.
Jennifer Leaning, a humanitarian and human rights analyst, draws on her diverse experience to describe both the long- and short-term consequences of wars waged in the midst of—or even against—civilian populations. The book illuminates a breakdown of distinction between home front and battlefront and the resulting erosion of civilian protection with the rise of intrastate war and policies of war-at-a-distance. Enlisting seasoned contributors for a wide-ranging set of essays, the book identifies significant trends in the conduct of war, and traces how these trends are later rendered in individual and social rituals of interpretation, commemoration, expiation, or avoidance.