War continues to occur and bewilder, despite the keen attention of scholars, generals, and officials. This book takes accounts of war – told, interpreted, retold, recast, and enacted – as its focus. It argues that war propagates from «war stories» into plans for the future. The vehicle is politics, ongoing, surging negotiation of interpretations and designs. Politics defies closure in civil society, but governments must take authoritative decisions. If war stories in circulation confirm war preparations, war threats, and war itself as «appropriate» for their circumstances, governments organize for war and undertake matching designs and choices. A war avoidance policy delegitimates the war choice, providing robust alternatives in mutual reassurance and collective security.