Dyer, Gwynne 1943-

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Dyer, Gwynne 1943-


Born April 17, 1943, in St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada. Education: Memorial University of Newfoundland, B.A., 1963; Rice University, M.A., 1966; King's College, University of London, Ph.D., 1973.


E-mail—[email protected].


Journalist and military analyst. Lecturer in military studies at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Sandhurst, England, 1973-77; producer and host of radio and television series, including seven-part radio series, Seven Faces of Communism, for Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and American Broadcasting Companies (ABC), 1978; War, 1983; The Defence of Canada, 1986; The Gorbachev Revolution and The Human Race (host), 1994; and Millennium. Military commentator in Canada during Gulf War. Instructor at Oxford University. Military service: Reserve naval officer in Royal Canadian Naval Reserve, 1956-64, 1966-68; U.S. Naval Reserve, 1964-66; British Royal Navy Reserve, 1968-1973.


International Film Festival Awards, 1984; Gemini Award for Best Writing, 1986, for The Space Between; Academy Award nomination, 1985, for "The Profession of Arms," an episode of War; Gemini Awards for series The Human Race and Protection Force; award for radio documentary The Gorbachev Revolution; Columbia University School of Journalism Award for book War.



War, Crown (New York, NY), 1985, revised edition published as War: The New Edition, Random House Canada (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2004, published as War: The Lethal Custom, Carroll & Graf Publishers (New York, NY), 2005.

The Defence of Canada: In the Arms of the Empire, M & S (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1990.

Ignorant Armies: Sliding into War in Iraq, McClelland & Stewart (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2003.

Future: Tense: The Coming World Order, M & S (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2004.

With Every Mistake (collection of syndicated columns), Random House Canada (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2005.

Fighting Decline, M & S (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2007.

After Iraq: Anarchy and Renewal in the Middle East, Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2008.


(With Barbara Sears) War (television miniseries), National Film Board of Canada, 1983.

The Road to Total War, National Film Board of Canada, 1983.

The Profession of Arms, National Film Board of Canada, 1983.

Notes on Nuclear War, National Film Board of Canada, 1983.

Keeping the Old Game Alive, National Film Board of Canada, 1983.

Goodbye War, National Film Board of Canada, 1983.

Anybody's Son Will Do, National Film Board of Canada, 1983.


The Space Between, CBC, 1986.

A Long Way from Home, CBC, 1986.

Keeping the Elephants Away, CBC, 1986.

Harder Than It Looks, National Film Board of Canada, 1987.

The Tribal Mind, Green Lion Productions, 1994.

Paradise Lost (television), CBC, 1994.

The Gods of Our Fathers, Green Lion Productions, 1994.

Escaping from History, Green Lion Productions, 1994.

The Bomb under the World, Green Lion Productions, 1994.

The Price of Duty, National Film Board of Canada, 1995.

In God's Command, National Film Board of Canada, 1995.

Caught in the Crossfire, National Film Board of Canada, 1995.

Also author of radio programs Millennium, The Gorbachev Revolution, and Goodbye War, 1979. Syndicated columnist, writing on international affairs twice-weekly for more than 300 newspapers in about thirty countries.


Gwynne Dyer is a Canadian journalist and military analyst who is best known for his radio and television documentaries about war. First trained as a historian, he served in the naval reserves of three different countries and went on to teach at the prestigious Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in England, and at Oxford University. One of his best-known works is his first television series, titled simply War. Originally produced for radio during the mid-1980s, this program eventually aired on television in forty-five different countries. Dyer has produced, written, and hosted other documentaries on war, and on other subjects as well. For example, The Gorbachev Revolution discussed the sweeping social and political changes that took place in the Soviet Union during the tenure of President Mikhail Gorbachev, and Millennium was a six-hour radio series focusing on the emergence of a global culture.

The War documentary grew out of Dyer's concern about the proliferation of nuclear arsenals and other modern, high-tech weaponry of war. Such technology, he believes, has drastically changed the nature of warfare from what it had been for hundreds of years. The possibility of total global annihilation dramatically changed the rules of engagement, making it impossible for traditional armies to carry on in the roles they had been filling for centuries. Traveling to ten countries and speaking to representatives of the armies of six nations, Dyer examined the nature of war, the ways it had changed over the years, and the consequences of modern warfare. He noted that in the past, there seemed to be more of a desire to spare life among soldiers, whereas modern military units are more likely to boast of their prowess as killers. Dyer believes that in the modern era, war is not a survivable option, and must be abandoned. All-out modern warfare will not only kill soldiers, but make the entire planet uninhabitable, for the victors as well as the losers.

The War documentary series was also adapted and published as a book, War, which was later updated as War: The New Edition and then as War: The Lethal Custom. The revised edition takes into account the state of the world and warfare following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the U.S.-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that followed. Reviewing the book for Traffic 7, Annunziata Zoiti-Licastro said that Dyer's "history of war is a fascinating history of human cruelty, exploitation, poverty and insanity." A Kirkus Reviews writer called the book "provocative, agile and very well argued, with an a-ha! moment on nearly every page."

Dyer turned his attention from history and the present to what is to come, in his book Future: Tense: The Coming World Order. Working from a solid historical perspective, he analyzes the methods and motivations of players on the world stage, including the United States and the Middle East, and predicts the ways in which events are likely to play out in years to come. He believes that both the Islamic extremist goal of a single Islamic state and the neoconservative American desire for global domination by the United States are both unlikely to be realized. Yet, the forces working for each of those ideals are moving the world toward disaster nevertheless, according to Dyer, who is very critical of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. In order for a more positive future to unfold, he believes that the United States must move away from a quest for global dominion and begin to support international partnerships and institutions. "In a reader-friendly way, he interprets frightening recent events and ends with a glimmer of hope," reported Ruth Latta in a Briarpatch review.

Some of Dyer's newspaper columns are collected in the book With Every Mistake. Despite his prolific output as a columnist, With Every Mistake was Dyer's first collection of his newspaper columns. The essays included in the book are strongly critical of the actions of the administration of U.S. president George W. Bush; Dyer believes that Bush and those in his camp staged the invasion of Iraq in an attempt to establish U.S. domination around the globe. Yet, this view developed slowly because, in his early columns following the September 11 attacks, Dyer sincerely believed that the Bush administration was acting in good faith. Nathan Whitlock, reviewing for Quill & Quire, noted that the book makes the same points as those in Future: Tense, but added: "To see it slowly emerging through his columns is a revelation, not only of Dyer's thought processes, but of the fundamental limitations of journalism in trying to make sense of world events." In After Iraq: Anarchy and Renewal in the Middle East, Dyer continued to offer a sober analysis of the consequences of the invasion of Iraq. It is, according to a Kirkus Reviews writer, "a lucid but grim accounting of the bites earned and yet to come by our government's having shaken up a hornet's nest."



American Historical Review, October, 1986, Peter Paret, review of War, p. 882.

Arena Magazine, February 1, 2006, Rachel Power, review of Future: Tense: The Coming World Order, p. 49.

Books in Canada, January, 1986, review of War, p. 26; October, 1990, review of The Defence of Canada: In the Arms of the Empire, p. 31; April 1, 2004, Alexander Craig, "Ignorant Armies Sliding into War in Iraq," p. 13; November, 2004, "Why We War," p. 20.

Briarpatch, May, 2005, Ruth Latta, review of Future: Tense, p. 29.

Canadian Book Review Annual, January, 2003, Graeme S. Mount, review of Ignorant Armies: Sliding into War in Iraq, p. 305; January, 2004, Danial Duda, review of Future: Tense, p. 310; January, 2005, Tim Cook, review of War: The New Edition, p. 290; January, 2005, Liz Dennett, review of With Every Mistake, p. 89.

Canadian Literature, spring, 1991, George Woodcock, review of The Defence of Canada.

CM Magazine, May, 1990, review of The Defence of Canada, p. 145.

Encounter, February, 1987, review of War, p. 44.

International Journal, spring 2006, J.P. Harris, review of War: The New Edition, p. 518.

Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2005, review of War: The Lethal Custom, p. 396; December 1, 2007, review of After Iraq.

New York Times, September 29, 1985, Herbert Mitgang, review of War, p. 27; September 30, 1985, Herbert Mitgang, review of War, p. 14.

Peace & Security, summer, 1990, review of The Defence of Canada, p. 22.

Quadrant, July 1, 2005, John Izzard, "The Abnormality of War," p. 118.

Quill & Quire, February, 1986, Nathan Whitlock, review of War, p. 41.

Reference & Research Book News, November, 2005, review of Future: Tense; May, 2006, review of War: The Lethal Custom.

Traffic 7, July, 2005, Annunziata Zoit-Licastro, review of War: The Lethal Custom, p. 158.

Washington Post, September 29, 1985, George F. Will, review of War, p. 7.


Australian Broadcasting Corporation Web site, http://www.abc.net.au/ (June 1, 2007), Eleanor Hall, interview with Gwynne Dyer.

Gwynne Dyer Home Page,http:/www.gwynnedyer.com (March 25, 2008).

Internet Movie Database,http://www.imdb.com/ (March 25, 2008), biographical information about Gwynne Dyer.

Quill & Quire,http://www.quillandquire.com/ (January, 2006), Nathan Whitlock, review of With Every Mistake.