War and Peace On the Principle and the Constitution of the Rights of Peoples

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (Author); Alex Prichard (Introduction); Paul Sharkey (Translator)


Publisher: AK Press
Format: Book
Binding: pb
Pages: 625
Released: June 28, 2022
ISBN-13: 9781849354684

Of Proudhon’s best books, War and Peace is the least well known in the English-speaking world. This first English translation will open up both our understanding of Proudhon’s mature works as well as a window on mid-nineteenth century international relations and the history of international thought. Sharkey’s rich and faithful translation, and Prichard’s scholarly introduction and annotations, bring this book to life for a new, (post)modern audience. This is still one of the only extended accounts of anarchist international theory in history and is one of the earliest in the history of socialist thought. Prichard’s introduction describes both its specificity and the multiple lines of influence it had, on writers as diverse as Tolstoy, Sorel, French sociology more broadly, and post-1945 Anglo-American International Relations theory.


Praise for War and Peace

"War and Peace is one of Proudhon’s most fascinating books. While the phenomenon of war is analysed through the lens of the right of force, the book is no justification for violence. Proudhon’s obsession with law leads to a challenging opposition of war’s horrors with war’s ideals, where the clash or balance of antagonistic forces produces justice ... Alex Prichard explores Proudhon's opus with his knowledge of modern debates and the latest work in International Relations. Thanks to this translation, English readers will rediscover one of Europe's leading socialist thinkers, someone Faguet once said was 'impossible not to take into account and ridiculous to disdain.'"
—Anne-Sophie Chambost, author of Proudhon: L’enfant terrible du socialisme 

"This fascinating text broadens and deepens the history of international thought and just war theory and adds to recent recoveries and reassessments of the international thought of Hobbes, Grotius, Kant, and others. Prichard's introduction offers the novice and expert reader a new way into the text and will help bring this work into existing debates on the relationship of war and justice." —Jonathan Havercroft, author of Captives of Sovereignty

"A fascinating study for scholars of the just war tradition, Proudhon’s writings straddle both classical and contemporary articulations of the right to war. On the one hand, Proudhon’s thinking illuminates otherwise obscure historical debates about the right of conquest that we could learn much from today. On the other, it offers a critique of just war as a thinly mannered variant of the “might is right” doctrine that speaks powerfully to present-day controversies. This, then, is quite the find—one that is likely to lead scholars to view just war tradition with new old eyes."
—Cian O’Driscoll, author of Victory: The Triumph and Tragedy of Just War Theory



Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (1809–1865) was one of Europe’s most well-known socialists during his lifetime. His complete works span over sixty volumes. From his opening salvo on the social origins of the Sabbath, to the claim that “all property is theft!,” to his final writings on international relations, federalism, and the political capacity of the working class, his works shaped European socialism for a generation, and continue to act as the intellectual spine of modern anarchism. 

Alex Prichard is Associate Professor of International Relations at the University of Exeter. He has written widely on Proudhon’s thought and on the political theory of anarchy. His most recent project is Anarchic Agreements: How to Build Groups and Coalitions with PM Press. 

Paul Sharkey is one of the most well-known and highly respected translators of anarchist writings of the past thirty years. His other translations include Alexander Skirda’s Facing The Enemy (2002) and Frank Mintz’s Anarchism and Workers' Self-Management in Revolutionary Spain (2013). 

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