Ordinarily, I hate whiney responses by authors to negative reviews. Clearly, not everyone is going to like your book. If some people find it unconvincing, that's part of the game. But the hatchet job on Reasons to Kill perpetrated by Publishers Weekly demands a brief comment.
Yes, I am the author of Reasons to Kill: Why Americans Choose War. No, I don't think the book is perfect either. But a "tenuous polemic"? "Tenuous" is an intellectual cuss-word -- an adjective used by critics to give their negative gut reactions an apparently objective basis. "Polemic" means a narrowly partisan argument, often unsupported by evidence. Whatever else Reasons to Kill is, it is NOT a mere polemic, but a wide-ranging exploration of American history that describes the main arguments and images used to induce us to approve of foreign wars. Reading this strangely uninformative review, one would never guess that the book talks about what ideas like self defense, evil enemies, humanitarian duty, and patriotism mean in an American context, and about how our "civil religion" influences popular attitudes toward war and peace.
What apparently bugs the PW reviewer most of all is my statement that in modern times, the U.S. government has a uniquely bellicose record. The reviewer does not explain why this statement is wrong, however. That would be hard to do, since it's 100% accurate! Equally annoying to this critic is my failure to sign on to the current War on Terrorism and my insistence -- again, supported by historical evidence -- that conflict resolution methods are more effective than bombs and bullets to end terrorist threats.
Of course, I may be wrong. But don't trust this partisan review, dear friends. Read the book yourselves and make up your own minds.