April 18, 2019


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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History tells us that nonviolence will not come through the religious bodies of the world.

Such banal and thoughtless nonvoilence offend the historical mind. Kurlansky quotes Ghandi, “Violence is any day preferable to impotence.

Apr 08, Pages. I noticed so many inaccuracies that I couldn’t trust any of the information about subjects that I knew nothing about yet. If they aren’t being beaten up, arrested and imprisoned, vast crowds of them are being shot dead.

Tactical nonviolwnce in nonviolence consistently receive short shrift: Aug 02, Ellen rated it it was ok. The second thing that made me uncomfortable in these examples of the author was the retrospective “what if” reasoning, combined with a snarky tone and the condemnation of violence. And so a religion that is in the service of a state is a religion that not only accepts war but prays for victory.

Muste, a twentieth century pacifist, gets more than a brief mention. After I have read them, I put them out in to the world for nonviolenxe to enjoy. The result is obscenity — from armies with tanks and missiles, supersonic kurlansly fighters, cluster-bombs and land-mines, killing soldiers and civilians by the thousands, to nonviolenfe plague of hand-guns used to murder American school-children almost every week.

Kurlansky’s arguments are valuable not because they are always airtight, but rather because such contentions are rarely considered at all. 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 trut In this timely, highly original, and controversial narrative, New York Times bestselling author Mark Kurlansky discusses nonviolence as a distinct entity, a course of action, rather than a mere state of mind.


Kurlansky can be heavy-handed at times, especially when he’s drawing parallels between his lessons from history and our present kurlanwky of war. He fails them here. Il rabbino Hillel rispose aun suo discepolo che lo interrogava sulla Torah: One of my favourite quotes that’s stuck in my mind is nonviolnece by Hannah Arendt – “The practice of violence changes the world, but the most probable change is a more violent world.

Oct 26, Ande rated it really liked it.

Overall, useful information and a quick read. The Revolutionary War and the Civil War are visited in turn with only a very little attention paid to any nonviolent aspects.

This book I will keep and read again many times. But that’s easy for me to say, living as I do in my nice house in my nice city nestled here in New England. In another historical simplification, Kurlanksy speculates how many more Jews would have survived the Holocaust if they had taken up non-violent action—and then moves on.

A history of nonviolence

And the peace movement, at its best, never really espoused nonviolence but simply non war. Other authors might take a more religious approach to the questions, whereas Kurlansky kur,ansky an argument from the practical perspective: A very interesting history of nonviolence.

There are 25 “lessons” about nonviolence that are listed at the end of the book; most of these are great topics for discussion.

AC Grayling explores the history of non-violence. But it is also an important challenge to America’s founding myth, opening the door for a wider reinterpretation of who we are, and what we might become, as a nation. Could nonviolence have worked against even the most evil regimes in history? But the second half gets four stars as it gets into real examples of the success of nonviolence in the world. The point is made that people and governments did know the Holocaust was happening and, for a variety of reasons, chose to do nothing.

By the end of the book, it’s clear that Kurlansky himself is a pacifist, although he never admits it outright. Gandhi and Martin Luther King receive just a few pages each, and it would be difficult for a reader to understand their distinctive contributions.

Certainly violence would have fared them so better in most cases, but are we expected not to fight when our freedoms and our lives are about to be taken? You know that feeling when a book showers you with intriguing ideas and historical events that you knew nothing about. For me, nonviolence is a part of an ideal world.


Curiously Kurlansky sees a significant difference between pacifism and nonviolence. It is a fascinating, lucid account of the non-violence movement throughout history, most of which we have never before encountered.

Review: Nonviolence by Mark Kurlanksy | Riot! by Ian Hernon | Books | The Guardian

I always enjoy Kurlansky. 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.

Discussions around non-violence as a strategy are extremely important, I wholeheartedly endorse this book, but with the caveat that it is a popular text on history, rather than a more academic work for university nongiolence. Want to Read Currently Reading Read.

The History of a Dangerous Idea is a book that I’ve seen many human rights activists who I admire recommend, and it’s really opened my eyes to seeing things from a different point of view. Kurlanskt came out neither impressed nor disappointed.

I found myself at times scoffing at Kurlanksy’s arguments though, and had trouble taking the book seriously. Kurlanksy ultimately fails to deliver what he promises in his title: The story might mention “peace churches” like those of the Quakers and their creation of a pacifist way of life based on Jesus’ teachings. This is sadly contradicted by the Peterloo massacre, when a large but peaceable crowd was attacked by police in Manchester in Also in this Issue Editorial: I read it quickly, seeing some familiar faces throughout.

Nonviolence is a fascinating book which will help you to think about the futility of war and violence, and hopefully it’ll encourage more people to question and proactively change through nonviolent means the power-mad agendas of their governments.

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