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A Force More Powerful: A Century of Nonviolent Conflict 1st Edition

3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0312228644
ISBN-10: 0312228643
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Editorial Reviews Review

"In a contest of violence against violence," the philosopher Hannah Arendt observed, "the superiority of the government has always been absolute." When confronted with nonviolent resistance on the part of the downtrodden, however, governments have often crumbled--witness the fall of South Africa's apartheid regime and the ousting of Slobodan Milosevic in Yugoslavia.

The worldwide spread of democracy in the 20th century, documentary writers Peter Ackerman and Jack DuVall maintain, "would not have come to pass without the power of ordinary people who defied oppressive rulers not by force of arms, but by nonviolent action." By way of example, they cite the collapse of the Argentine military regime following peaceful protests by the mothers of men and women who had been murdered by the secret police; the eventual undermining of the Polish Communist regime by the nonviolent Solidarity labor movement; the refusal of the Danish people to comply with the laws of their Nazi occupiers during World War II; and the exemplary work done in India (and, earlier, South Africa) by Mohandas Gandhi, who took pains to emphasize that nonviolence does not imply passivity.

Ackerman and DuVall's book, the companion volume to a PBS television series, will be of much interest to political activists of all stripes, as well as to students of contemporary history. --Gregory McNamee

From Booklist

A Force More Powerful is the companion volume to an eponymous PBS series on which the authors collaborated. Like the videos, the book explores the use of nonviolent action to achieve social change in the twentieth century. The first part, "Movement to Power," covers pre-Revolutionary Russia, colonial India, and the Solidarity movement in Poland. Part 2, "Resistance to Terror," describes German opposition to the 1923 Ruhrkampf and Danish resistance to the Nazi invasion, as well as Latin American resistance efforts in El Salvador, Argentina, and Chile. Part 3, "Campaigns for Rights," addresses the civil rights movement in the U.S and the campaign against apartheid in South Africa, restoration of democracy in the Philippines, the Palestinian intifada, and a range of actions in China, Eastern Europe, and Mongolia. Finally, "Violence and Power" considers the theoretical questions that nonviolence raises and briefly discusses recent or current conflicts in such places as Sri Lanka, the Basques, Northern Ireland, Burma, Serbia, and Kosovo. A solid overview of a fascinating subject. Mary Carroll
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1st edition (September 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312228643
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312228644
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.5 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #742,784 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Paul Loeb on March 10, 2001
Format: Hardcover
In many ways, these are bleak times. Global inequality widens....This book is an antidote. It tells us about the power of ordinary human actions and voices, even against the most seemingly overhwelming odds. It teaches us how change occurs, and the unexpected leaps that it takes. It reminds us of the power we have to act for justice. And it opens up new possibilities as to how we might resolve our conflicts without violence.
Lots of times people shy away from the history of non-violence because they aren't principled pacifists. They would have fought in World War II or in our own Civil War, against slavery. That's fine. A Force More Powerful doesn't require that we take an absolute moral stand. Rather, it argues, with example after example, that non-violent action is more powerful and effective in a array of situations than violent resistant, even against autocrats and tyrants. The book frees up our imagination and gives us ways to act...
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Robert M. Pallotti on February 5, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Bravo! These two fine gentlemen are helping to bring nonviolent methods to solve conflict into the mainstream of thought and discussion. It wasn't too long ago that such ideas as national nonviolent resistance was left to "fringe" groups and people like Gene Sharp. This book compliments a number of more recent publications that are attempting to legitmize nonviolent methods and philosophy into the general cultural and international mainstream.
With the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction it behoves individuals and nations to adopt more sane and humane policies and actions that promote human rights, peace and social justice. Such things are pillars to the nonviolent methods and struggles of any century, especially the new one!
As a Christian theologian and parent I have wrestled with the study and application of nonviolence in all dimensions of life. Two decades ago nonviolent solutions to international problems was considered nonsense and inconceivable. Now it is considered indepensible! We are all in the debt of these two gentlemen that wrote this book and that helped to give rise to the PBS series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Paul H Keller on June 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In a world were might makes right, since time began, here is a chronicle of getting the results you want without the use of force. Why not??!!
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