The Folly of War: Thoughts of an Old Man


As Pangloss the philosopher was created by Voltaire, who after a war, went back to cultivate his garden, Alain F. Corcos went to cultivate the family flower farm. Two years later he decided to go to the United States to learn more about horticulture. He ended up with a PhD in plant breeding. He is now a professor emeritus in the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology at Michigan State University.

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During all its history humanity it seems, has not learned a thing about the stupidity of war and its horrors. Today, the Middle East is in flames, Israelis are fighting the Palestinians; there is killing each day in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, and other parts of the world; cities are destroyed by incessant bombing. Victims are fleeing the killing, and emigration to Europe is at an all-time high.

But contrary to the young soldiers in the US who learn about the inhumanness of war when they are sent to Vietnam or the Middle East, Alain Corcos lived through War World II as a teenager, then escaped with his brother from Nazi France across the Spanish border and joined the Allied Forces in Casablanca in March 1944, three months before D-Day.

As an old man today, Corcos had time to reflect on war, and in his book The Folly of War he paints the pains that soldiers and civilians go through in any kind of war. He wonders if humanity is ready for peace. Wouldn’t it be more reasonable to work together than killing each other for foolish reasons? We face many challenges — the threat of nuclear war, overpopulation, climate change, and worldwide pandemics, to name a few. Corcos explores real solutions that offer hope instead of continued destruction.


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