Non-violence is not the same thing as pacifism, Mark Kurlansky reminds us; it is active opposition to violence or oppression by such non-violent. I very much enjoyed reading this book, although its title is something of a misnomer, as it is mostly a history of war resistance and anti-war thought. Another slight. In this timely, highly original, and controversial narrative, New York Times bestselling author Mark Kurlansky discusses nonviolence as a distinct entity.

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It is a fascinating, lucid account of the non-violence movement throughout history, most of which we have never before encountered.

The folks who will find kurlanskky book most useful are those of us who are drawn to A lovely little book with a nice organizational conceit: When he uses historical examples to show that warmongers will inevitably denounce nonviolent critics as immoral traitors and will always claim to have God on their side, the implications for today are plenty clear without him calling out Karl Rove and President Bush by name.

Jul 15, Larry Nohviolence rated it liked it Shelves: My first problem with these examples was that the reasoning the author gives could easily be turned around. By the end of the book, it’s clear that Kurlansky himself is a pacifist, although he never admits it outright.

Nonviolence: Twenty-Five Lessons from the History of a Dangerous Idea

This is a bold proposition, something that could no doubt keep a conference of historians indoors debating through a sunny weekend. It always leads to more violence.


If you have an older Salon account, please enter your username and password below: There is no such hope for the impotent. The American and English firebombing of cities killing thousands of civilians and the atomic bombing of Japan are also brought into the conversation about war. Kurlansky does a terrific job of pointing out not just the suffering of war, but the absurdity of it, and the deception behind it.

His primary concern is to “end war” in toto, not to use nonviolent persuasion to advance other causes.

Yet Kurlansky can also be a compelling narrator, willing to dive into age-old debates without intellectual hesitation. A model is provided by the Maori ploughing campaign in late 19th century New Zealand, under the leadership of chief Te Whiti: The key piece of takeaway is the infiltration of stooges into a movement Having read a few of Mr. He exposes the state — any state — for what it is, by explaining why those who are committed to nonviolence are and have always been its greatest enemies.

This is not a persuasive book, however; it is not written to persuade violent people to become nonviolent. Matthew Collin, ‘The Time of the Rebels’. He is called a genius, quirky, someone with a mischievous sense of humor.

A history of nonviolence

noonviolence Inspired by Gandhi’s example, it began as a nonviolent movement, but the South African police routinely opened fire on peaceful protesters, so Mandela formed an armed wing and began a bombing campaign.

Kurlansky quotes Ghandi, “Violence is any day preferable to impotence.

The author purports to be concerned with the latter. Also in this issue Editorial: We are lean, independent and non-profit.


If we want peace, we will have to be willing to suffer for it, and maybe even die for it, but isn’t that what we say about “freedom,” and that the cost is worth it? Want to Read Currently Reading Read. There is hope for the violent man to become non-violent. It is inspiring and frustrating. Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Nonfiction Riots can be mindless and ineffective, admits Nnonviolence, but sometimes they are morally justifiable as an expression of social inequality or political impotence.

A history of nonviolence |

But it ultimately gave me hope that those of us that follow Jesus today yet don’t agree with the Christendom machine are not alone. Better still as an example — for after all the American revolution quickly turned into a shooting war — are the events oftoppling the cardboard cut-out regimes of Eastern Europe.

And so a religion that is in the service of a state is a religion that not only accepts war but pray “One of history’s greatest lessons is that once the state embraces a religion, the nature of that religion changes radically.

He fails them here. History on the… More about Mark Kurlansky.

A very interesting history of nonviolence.