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Publisher's Summary

In this timely, highly original, and controversial narrative, New York Times best-selling author Mark Kurlansky discusses nonviolence as a distinct entity, a course of action, rather than a mere state of mind. 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. Nonviolence is a sweeping yet concise history that moves from ancient Hindu times to present-day conflicts raging in the Middle East and elsewhere. Kurlansky also brings into focus just why nonviolence is a "dangerous" idea, and asks such provocative questions as: Is there such a thing as a "just war"? Could nonviolence have worked against even the most evil regimes in history?

Kurlansky draws from history 25 provocative lessons on the subject that we can use to effect change today. 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. It simply needs to be embraced and accelerated.

Engaging, scholarly, and brilliantly reasoned, Nonviolence is a work that compels listeners to look at history in an entirely new way. This is not just a manifesto for our times but a trailblazing book whose time has come.

©2006 Mark Kurlansky (P)2006 Recorded Books

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A brief, necessary account of the history of nonviolence

An important, necessary sketch of the history of nonviolence. But it is only a sketch. Much more to be said about the different ways people have thought of nonviolence or the strategies they have used. It’s a start though. It skews to the analysis of nonviolence as an anti-war movement, and as an alternative to war.