Vroman’s Hosts Professor, Political Scientist Claiming U.S. Closer to Civil War Than ‘Anyone of Us Would Like to Believe’

Published on Jan 17, 2022

Political scientist and UC San Diego Professor Barbara F. Walter will discuss her book “How Civil Wars Start: And How to Stop Them” on Vroman’s Live Tuesday, January 18, 6 p.m.

The Vroman’s Bookstore event will be broadcast on Crowdcast.

In “How Civil Wars Start,” Walter writes that the United States is “closer to civil war than any of us would like to believe.”

“Political violence rips apart several towns in southwest Texas,” a description of the book says. “A far-right militia plots to kidnap the governor of Michigan and try her for treason. An armed mob of Trump supporters and conspiracy theorists storms the U.S. Capitol. Are these isolated incidents? Or is this the start of something bigger?”

Walter has spent her career studying civil conflict in places like Iraq and Sri Lanka, but said she has now become increasingly worried about her own country. Perhaps surprisingly, both autocracies and healthy democracies are largely immune from civil war; it’s the countries in the middle ground that are most vulnerable. And this is where more and more countries, including the United States, are finding themselves today.

Over the last two decades, the number of active civil wars around the world has almost doubled. Walter reveals the warning signs – where wars tend to start, who initiates them, what triggers them – and why some countries tip over into conflict while others remain stable.

Drawing on the latest international research and lessons from over 20 countries, Walter identifies the crucial risk factors, from democratic backsliding to factionalization and the politics of resentment.

“A civil war today won’t look like America in the 1860s, Russia in the 1920s, or Spain in the 1930s,” the book’s description says “It will begin with sporadic acts of violence and terror, accelerated by social media. It will sneak up on us and leave us wondering how we could have been so blind.”

Walter received her BA in political science and German from Bucknell University in 1986, and her MA in 1991 and PhD in 1994 in political science, both from the University of Chicago. She completed post-doctoral fellowships at the Olin Institute for Strategic Studies at Harvard University, and at the War and Peace Institute at Columbia University.

In this urgent and insightful book, Walter redefines civil war for a new age, providing the framework needed to confront the danger, and the knowledge to stop it before it’s too late.

To watch the lecture on Tuesday, go to www.crowdcast.io/e/barbara-f-walter and register for free ahead of time.

For more information, call (626) 449-5320 or visit www.vromansbookstore.com/vroman%E2%80%99s-live-presents-barbara-f-walter-discusses-how-civil-wars-start-and-how-to-stop-them.

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