Home – the book and its contents

The Zeus Complex book cover

It seems that no one has attempted this topic before in quite the same way. The book concentrates on the aerial bombardment on civilians (deliberate or otherwise), in history and now, and what has been done to limit or prevent it. There have been other writings on such civilian collateral damage and a lot more, but mostly separately, on human rights in such onslaughts. However, few have tried to link the two, and even fewer have been looking forward to what may be done in future. This volume is an attempt to help reduce civilian bombing by increasing such ‘rights of humans’, and by offering ideas accordingly, mainly for the long term.

Author : Peter Nias – an independent social and peace researcher. Former honorary visiting research fellow, Peace Studies, University of Bradford, UK
Foreword by Professor Paul Rogers, University of Bradford, Peace Studies.
Launched November 2016

The work aims to be academically respectable but also accessible to an engaged wider public.
Peace, conflict resolution, human rights and military organisations and individuals may all find ideas of interest.

This is part book, part civilian manifesto as far as ‘collateral damage and human rights ‘ is concerned.

The book shows how the meaning and interpretations of the term ‘collateral damage’, and of ‘rights of humans’, have subtly changed, especially over more recent years. It then uses examples of both throughout history, and from around the world. It considers the influence of Zeus, the mythical ‘king of the gods’, then on through both distant and modern events, especially to the 20th and 21st centuries. It asks what has and is being done in terms of rights of humans during those times to avoid civilians in such conflict. It shows how, and if, collaterally damaged civilians are acknowledged and remembered by society. It is illustrated, but not with ‘damaged humans’. It has many interesting footnote ‘asides’.

For those readers who, when hearing of civilian aerial bombardment and its grim consequences, think ‘what on earth can anyone do about it?’ the concluding manifesto of some forty ideas – both micro and macro topics, usual and very unusual topics – offers a positive outlook. These range from influencing the meaning of popular words (a ‘smart’ bomb), for the military to use ‘blue on white’ regarding civilian casualties, to specifically memorialising such civilians as children-women-men, to having women in charge of ‘bomber commands’, to having astronauts from a much wider range of countries, to use much more creative economics, politics and military. And many more. Worth a look.

A5 size with 225pp including 45 illustrations plus a scroll of images, some 343 footnotes (references, explanations and asides) , and some 76 bibliographic references

Copies £5 each plus £2 p&p (for UK) are available upon request via Paypal in Sterling.

For other inquiries from inside or outside UK please email :

Chapter contents

  1. Introduction and background :
    What this is about ……and what this is not about
  1. Devastation from the heavens :
    Myths, the ancients and religion
  1. If only humans could fly! From distant history to 1900
    3a. Foundations of civilian threats : from distant history to 1900
    3b. Human Rights before 1900 : slow, slow, quick, quick, slow
  1. 1900-1919 : The start of the schizophrenic century : the aerial civilian threat becomes extant
    4a. Air ‘force’ becomes reality between 1900-1919
    4b.1900-1919 : Any human rights?
  1. 1919-1939 : Two decades of anticipatory terror
    5a.1919-1939 ‘Inter-war’ bombing
    5b. What kind of rights for humans were created 1919-1939?
  1. 1939-1945 : The (nearly) ultimate aerial bombardment of civilians
    6a. Aerial bombardment 1939-1945
    6b. 1939-1945 Were any human rights developed at this time?
  1. 1945-1990 : We are all on tenterhooks now : the atomic/nuclear genie is out of the bottle
    7a. 1945-1990 aerial bombardments of civilians
    7b. 1945-1990 Growth in Human Rights – on paper. But in practice?
  1. 1990-2016 : Does the ‘invention’ of ‘collateral damage’ counteract human rights to life?
    8a. 1990-2016 ‘Smart’ aerial bombardment of civilians
    8b. 1990-2016 A paradox : human rights increasing whilst being under threat
  1. Well, we did warn you : privatising civilian safety
  1. Monuments, memorialising and human rights :
    (How) Do we remember civilians killed in aerial bombardment?
  1. A manifesto : Tackling ‘collateral damage’ and aerial bombardment with human rights

Summary list of ideas/initiatives