Why? Ceremonial war stops the tribe “from eating too much forest too fast.” Each time a defeated tribe is routed from its garden fields, the conquered land is left fallow for many years so that forest plants and cover can regenerate. Harris also denigrates the idea of males being savages by nature. Not so, claims Harris. From ancient times, male physiology and psychology have been bred to favor warrior-like behavior necessary to defeat enemies like the Maring mentioned above. Males are expendable in battle whereas child-bearing women, needed to continue a tribe or race, are not. Without an understanding of another’s belief system, war is necessary for survival. Finally, Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches addresses the idea of messiahs, witches, and witchcraft. The Holy Roman Empire extended over most of what was believed to be the civilized world surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. This Christianization brought about by the spread of Christ’s message as a Messiah brought with it a certain predictable regularity to everyday life. The Christian church provided a format – a liturgy to follow from birth, through life, to death and an afterlife. People literally did not have to think. Baptism brought them into the church where they were told what to believe and how they should live. The church and its clergy provided the leadership to get Christians through heaven’s pearly gates. Of course, to the Jewish people in the Holy Lands, Jesus was not their messiah. His message was one of a gentle life of acceptance, of living and loving, forgiving and forgetting. But The Old Testament is filled with predictions of a militaristic messiah who would come and lead the Jews to triumph over adversity, win back Jerusalem, and rebuild their temple so they could truly live as God’s chosen ones.Anyone who dared speak out against the Christian Church’s abuses and/or its beliefs were labeled heretics. It was against them that Rome first authorized the use of torture to persuade these erring believers to rescind their sinful ideas and agree to return to the Roman Church. Many went underground to form anti-Roman Church organizations. According to Harris, it was an easy logical step to connect heretical beliefs with devils, sorcery, and witchcraft within these secret organizations. Witches, particularly during and after the inquisition, were accused of causing everything from hailstorms, to outbreaks of disease, to death of livestock. Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches reveals some of the ingeniously cruel torture devices used to force persons to confess witchcraft - guilty or not.Harris ends his book by explaining that without genuine knowledge of others and their beliefs, humans can make the mistake of repeating the past. He believes that just as scientific objectivity explained the misunderstanding about cows, pigs, messiahs, and witches, this same objectivity can show mankind the diversity of lifestyles today -- diversity that when misunderstood was responsible for Vietnam, and is now responsible for Iraq — diversity that determines how nations are forced to interact with their environment, either positively or negatively.While the title of this book, Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches, may seem trite, the material presented makes for a fun, educational read that will demystify some mysterious past beliefs that most take for granted. The material is presented orderly, clearly, and often humorously. I would recommend the book to a reader searching for a tale that reads more like an adventure than a sociological or anthropological treatise. But as the author warns, it must be read in the order presented. Without understanding “cows,” one cannot easily understand “pigs.” Each section builds upon the preceding one. Hopefully, the ideas presented in Harris' book will lead its readers to a better understanding of the human condition.