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Bringing War Back In (Cambridge University Press) revisits the link between war and state building offering an account that fits a hard case for the bellicist theory of state formation: Latin America.

In contrast to a contemporary scholarship that focuses on wartime mobilization and how wars killed weak states, this book looks at the lingering effects that unpredictable war outcomes have on state capacity in a post-war phase. Although amidst the fog of war every state mobilizes and strengthens, the fortuitous outcome of war is what determines the survival of otherwise contingent wartime coalitions, generating long-term divergences between winners and losers. While victorious states are legitimized and consolidate the coalitions and institutions created for war, the opposite happens upon defeat, leading to protracted declines in state capacity.

In nineteenth-century Latin America states systematically survived frequent and severe warfare. This provides an ideal setting to compare the long-lasting effects of war outcomes. Bringing War Back In combines several social science methods to provide a comprehensive picture of state formation in this region that is accessible to readers across disciplines. Leveraging statistics and archival evidence the book shows how international threats systematically triggered state building and how victors and losers were set into divergent trajectories that rigidified in a peaceful twentieth century. Overall, the book offers a new and compelling explanation for the variation in state capacity that we see today both within Latin America and beyond.

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