TMW Book Reviews

Why We Hate: Understanding the Roots of Human Conflict by Michael Ruse


People usually fear what they do not understand. In all of its forms, war is a common enemy to all of us. Alas, we are terrified of war, for we can never be sure what consequences it might bring to our lives. Why does war even exist? Indeed, if peace is our ultimate goal, why do we engage in conflict to achieve it?

I certainly found answers in Michael Ruse’s new book, Why We Hate – Understanding the Roots of Human Conflict, based on an interdisciplinary view that covers the history of how and why war came to be in this world. The book explores topics such as hatred and human conflicts over time through the eyes of a philosopher’s perspective, referencing the Darwinian evolutionary theory throughout its chapters.

But the scope does not end there. Ruse’s use of diverse fields in looking at the evolution of war is extraordinary. Touching historical information on different eras and their cultures and discussions pinning worldly prejudices as well.

The book is an academic manuscript filled with credible sources of information and sprinkled with the author’s real-life experiences as he goes through each chapter. As someone who spends time reading different studies in various fields in the social sciences, I must say that this applaudable work proves its urgency through the provision of updated statistical data and the use of prominent individuals in the interdisciplinary aspect of its topics. In addition, this book is written with easily understandable concepts and examples that readers are most familiar with. Despite its technical nature, there is little to no jargon that hinders readers from grasping the context of the chapters. Fundamentally, this has been a highly engaging read!

“Why are humans at once so social and so hateful to each other?” – Michael Ruse (Why We Hate, 2022)

We sometimes ask ourselves questions that keep us wondering what is happening with the world today. The emergence of so many complicated situations in contemporary politics, society, and the economy has influenced how people live their lives while fending for their safety and security. A book like this has definitely shed light on war’s roots and development.

– The Moving Words Review

Official Entry: The Most Moving Book Award, Jan. 2, 2023