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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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. There is no positive word that conveys that state of being. Nor, ironically, would it have avoided the more violent forms of revolution seen elsewhere.

Nonviolence can and should be a technique for overcoming social injustice and ending wars, he asserts, which is why it is the preferred method of those who speak truth to power. He shows how, time and again, violence is used to suppress nonviolence and its practitioners—Gandhi and Martin Luther King, for example; that the stated deterrence value of standing national armies and huge weapons arsenals is, at best, negligible; and, encouragingly, that much of the hard work necessary to begin a movement to end war is already complete.


Some of his examples — Denmark in World War II, for example — fail to take into account the totality of circumstance. We are experiencing technical difficulties.


The Scottish ID cards scandal News. As a rejoinder to pacifism, no one is noviolence more frequently than Hitler. Maya Evans’ Diary Comment. Are pensions worth dying for? I found myself at times scoffing at Kurlanksy’s arguments though, and had trouble taking the book seriously. WW2 and the holocaust, Haiti and the war of ‘extermination’, etc. And the story is This book was absolutely captivating.

Even Kurlansky concedes that absolute passivity might result in nonviollence, which seems a high price to pay for the moral high ground. And, I must say that this is a great read!

Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. It’s one of the best books ever written in the 21st century. Starting with a review of anti-war thought within the main religions – and arguing strongly that each was fundamentally anti-violence and anti-war before being corrupted by becoming powerful – the book continues by galloping through a history of anti-war resistance from the middle ages to the present day.

Aug 04, Khalid Al Bah rated it really liked it. Those against the idea, which is the majority of the population, would probably go back to their pre-existing idea that violence solves problems, having taken little to nothing from the book. This is a pity, because what if they had responded with more nonviolence?

Thanks for telling us about the problem. Of course Tony Blair totally ignored this peaceful and well-behaved “march of the luvvies”, he says. Kurlansky draws from history twenty-five provocative lessons on the subject that we can use to effect change today. But when you take violence off the table, and forever foreswear its use, nonviolence might be seen as a weakness to be exploited.


Nonviolence is a tactic. Published September 12th by Modern Library first published January 1st And so a religion that is in the service of a state is a religion that not only accepts war but prays for victory.

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

I read this with a vague hope of finding out that nonviolencce world isn’t completely stuffed. Oct 26, Ande rated it really liked it. Others are less obvious and might make some readers question the assertions made. However, his interest faded and he began to work as a journalist in Mark Kurlansky born 7 December in Hartford, Connecticut is a highly-acclaimed American journalist and writer of general interest non-fiction. Muste, a twentieth century pacifist, gets more than a brief mention.

Mozi was an opponent of Confucius who championed the concept of “mutual love” and was exasperated by the prevalence of warfare: This krlansky a well written, non-academic book, aimed at those new to the subject. The reaction of the oppressed against this oppressor-violence, that’s what could exist in a number of different forms: There were peace honviolence antiwar movements in the U. These are a luminous case of the power — the great-than-guns power — of non-violence.