Non-violence : the history of a dangerous idea

by Mark Kurlansky

Other authorsDalai Lama (Foreword)
Paperback, 2007



Call number



London : Vintage, 2007

User reviews

LibraryThing member janeherr
When I saw how few people had this book and no one had reviewed I really got the picture as to why we can't have world peace. If I could only give Bush and all his cronies copies and make them read it (it's easy enough, even they could do it!). Although I realize much of the information is simplified for a popular audience the bottom line is there is no reason for war (not even the ever popular WWII) and a non-violent approach is always the easiest and of course most logical choice.… (more)
LibraryThing member mikewick
Kurlansky, in this wonderful introduction to the idea of nonviolence shows that, while not having a word that describes it as a proactive power, nonviolence has a rich history and is gaining strength as a method of initiating change. Retelling its history by drawing 25 lessons from his research, Kurlasnky does a fantastic job not only of providing a lesson on history, religion, and political power, but of a blueprint for changing society through nonviolence struggle.… (more)
LibraryThing member derekstaff
A brilliant book examining the history of nonviolence. Conventional wisdom holds that nonviolence is the dream for idealistic fools and naïve dreamers; a sweet idea, but one incredibly ineffectual in “the real world.” Kurlansky digs through history to refute this idea. He presents evidence that the success of Gandhi’s nonviolent revolution in India is hardly the singular, nor the result of a confluence of serendipitous conditions which cannot be duplicated elsewhere. Other nonviolent movements throughout history have not failed because of the deficiencies of nonviolence, but because the bases for those movements (such as Christianity and Buddhism) have been coopted and distorted by forces wishing to legitimate the use of violence, and because the advocates of nonviolence abandoned faith in their principles before they could be tested. Kurlansky presents evidence that the use of violence has often been much less successful than it has been depicted, and typically has frightful side-effects. A well reasoned and extremely thoughtful book.

This book should be required reading in every High School in the U.S. It could be the basis for some fascinating discussions in civics or humanities classes, and might spur some incredible and much needed paradigm shifts in the rising generation.
… (more)
LibraryThing member nmele
I didn't particularly enjoy Kurlansky's book on nonviolence--although his facts are accurate, they are often incomplete and his tone is snarky throughout. Someone whose introduction to nonviolence is this book is likely to reject the whole business.
LibraryThing member lucasdwi
Excellently written work on the history of nonviolence. Mark Kurlansky successfully captures the reader on a historical journey from the beginnings of religions and their relationship with violence to the modern Iraq war. Kurlansky shows where and how nonviolent ideologies can become twisted through power.
LibraryThing member johnthefireman
This is a good book about an important subject - but not as good as I expected.

It starts off fairly well and seems to do OK until it reaches modern times. I then found it rather weak. The section on Gandhi seems to break off without completion, and then it jumps straight into nuclear weapons. That section is very US-oriented, with no mention of CND, for example. The ending of the book also appears weak.

Disappointing, really.
… (more)

Original publication date




Local notes

inscription: Gift of John McMahon

Call number



Page: 0.3111 seconds