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War is hell, but it’s also very entertaining. Just ask Donald Kagan, the Yale University prof whose class on the sources of interstate altercation is, we’re told, a perennial fave with the Yalies. Kagan’s new book, On the Origins of War and the Preservation of Peace, exhaustively compares the world wars, two ancient wars, and the Cuban Missile Crisis in an effort to illuminate what makes nation-states want to push the big red button. Kagan discusses his book tonight at 7 p.m. at Olsson’s Metro Center, 1200 F St. NW. FREE. (202) 347-3686. (Steve Kuhn)