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Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr: The Power of Nonviolent Action (Cultures of Peace) Paperback – March, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-9231034312 ISBN-10: 9231034316

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Product Details

  • Series: Cultures of Peace
  • Paperback: 529 pages
  • Publisher: Unesco (March 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9231034316
  • ISBN-13: 978-9231034312
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.8 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,457,891 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Some time ago, when I asked Mary King to prepare this book as a UNESCO project, my overriding concern was to share the message of nonviolence with today's readers, particularly the young. Indeed, as a young woman, Mary King lived nonviolence in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Recent events around the world, as admirably documented here, show the continued relevance of nonviolence at the end of this most violent century in human history.

The examples of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, and of those who follow and adopt their teachings today, are crucial to UNESCO's constitutional commitment to build the defenses of peace in the minds of men and women everywhere. Where else but in our minds and hearts can we find the resourcefulness to break the cycle of war and violence that has characterized history until now - what I call the Culture of War' - and build a Culture of Peace'?

A culture of peace is anything but a culture of passivity. Nonviolence is a strategy for action, not inaction, and certainly not docility. It is forthright, courageous, disciplined, assertive and, as we all too often forget, remarkably successful. It is based on big ideas and overarching ethical imperatives communicated for all to see, in everyday gestures: Gandhi walking to the sea and silently picking up a grain of sand, Rosa Parks staying seated on her Montgomery bus, Martin Luther King and thousands of others walking to work in the famous bus boycott. A culture of peace is an everyday, active commitment to free expression, to caring for our neighbors and sharing our ideals and dreams with them.

This is what Gandhi and King teach us. This is what their fate forces us to conclude: they were threats to social and political orders based on injustice and violence. Their nonviolence and messages of freedom and love forced change, not only in external laws and systems of governance, but in the minds of men and women. And their ideas drew strength from the very tragedy of their deaths.

UNESCO celebrates these two great figures who, in the clamor of our war-torn century, quietly spoke truth to power calmly, bravely and effectively. For it is also true that this century has seen the birth of political nonviolence as a new force for change, for democracy, for justice and for peace.

When UNESCO's founders wrote of the need for the intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind in the pursuit of freedom, justice and democracy, they were offering the force of ideas against the idea of force. That is why it is so important to understand from this book that the Culture of Peace has a history and, most importantly, a future.Frederico Mayor, Director-General of UNESCO

About the Author

"Mary King...has a sensitivity and a courage that's absolutely superlative." Jimmy Carter, 39th President of the United States of America

Mary Elizabeth King

A political scientist and prize-winning author, Dr. Mary King is professor of international politics at St. George's University, Grenada, West Indies, and deputy director of its Institute of Caribbean and International Studies. She holds a joint academic appointment as visiting scholar at the American University Center for Global Peace, in Washington, D.C. Her Ph.D. in international politics is from the Department of International Politics at the University of Wales at Aberystwyth.

As a presidential appointee in the Carter administration, Dr. King had global responsibility for the Peace Corps (then in sixty countries), Vista, and other national programs of Action, a sub-cabinet federal agency. She subsequently served for nearly a decade as special adviser on the Middle East to President Jimmy Carter after he left office, and acted as his emissary to the political and business leaders of the region.

Dr. King has lifetime experience in prevention and resolution of conflict, dating back to four years spent as a young adult in the 1960s civil rights movement. Her two decades of work in human rights and international development and trade have taken King to more than one hundred developing countries, giving her an unusual grasp of global issues and the nature of racial, ethnic, and religious conflict.

In 1988, Dr. King won a Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Book Award for Freedom Song: A Personal Story of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement (New York, William Morrow, 1987). In 1989, her alma mater Ohio Wesleyan University bestowed on her its highest award for distinguished achievement. Her most recent book, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr: The Power of Nonviolent Action, was published to worldwide acclaim (Paris, UNESCO, 1999).


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By John Coonrod on April 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
At a time when the power of violence appears to be growing and unchallenged, this book provides an important reminder that there ARE alternatives.
Gandhi, King and others demonstrated to the world and to history that non-violence is more powerful than violence, if one has the courage and discipline necessary to apply it. Mary King's book does a better job than any other I've read at laying out this very-human saga. I came to recognize in this book that it is through the diligent and committed work of many unsung people over many decades that these two great leaders were able to make the decisive contributions to humanity that they did. Even though Gandhi had said it many times - that what he did could be done by anyone - one can only truly appreciate this truth when one has the "full story." And Mary King delivers the full story.
I also found the collection of quotes one of the best organized and most useful I've ever seen. Anyone with any level of leadership responsibility in social issues will want this book on their shelf - and in their suitcase.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Michael Nagler on August 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
Mary King has woven together photos, quotes and her own reflections in a manner reminiscent of the popular GANDHI THE MAN by Sri Eknath Easwaran. Her subject is broader, however, in that she gives us not only Gandhi and King but some of the more dramatic leaders of nonviolence in the modern world. The need for information and understanding about this subject and these people cannot be overstated. Mary King was superbly qualified to respond to that need, and she has done so beautifully in this volume. I agree with previous reviewers that it should be in the library of every school and college.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sam Beard on January 24, 2001
Format: Paperback
For anyone interested in world peace, Mary King's book, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr: The Power of Nonviolent Action, is a must read.
In the post cold war era, the battling forces of conflict - war and negotiation - peace have changed. From 1945 to 1990, the United States/Soviet Union standoff shaped public policy. The absence of the super power conflict has created a void and the opportunity for regional controversies has emerged. The essence of Mary King's theme is to utilize the people-based non-violent practices of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. as the major new forces for peace and conciliation.
Mary King's whole background and international experience makes her a unique voice. She cut her teeth in the 1960's in Mississippi, active in America's civil rights batles, working with Julian Bond and Martin Luther King, Jr. From there she has been one of the world's leading spokespersons and activists working on the international scene on behalf of women's rights, civil rights and peace. Her first book on civil rights in Mississippi won the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Journalism.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Helena Cobban on May 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
There are not nearly enough books published in English on the extremely important topic of nonviolent social action. I am a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and realize how very many publications there are that examine all aspects of the use of violence/force in international and inter-group relations. But sadly, few of those books give much sober assessment of the huge limitations there are on the effectiveness of coercion-based actions (e.g. in Kosovo, Bosnia, etc.) This book helps to provide an antidote to that. In addition to giving full descriptions of Gandhi's and Dr. MLK's thinking on the power of nonviolence, the author, Mary King, also provides some fascinating material about the effectiveness of nonviolent acts in more recent struggles.
I have written a regular column on global issues for 'The Christian Science Monitor' for nearly a decade now. In the past couple of years, I have also been blessed by the opportunity to work as a writer with an extremely inspiring group of Nobel Peace laureates, including the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Tutu, Rigoberta Menchu Tum, and others. (Based on that work, I wrote a book called "The Moral Architecture of World Peace: Nobel Laureates Discuss our Global Future".) It was significant that nearly all the laureates I worked with mentioned both Gandhi and Dr. MLK--who was also himself a Nobel Peace Laureate--as prime inspirations in their own work and thinking. So I was looking for one reference book that I could use myself, and to which I could refer readers, that would provide a broad overview of the thinking of those two men. I was delighted to find it in Mary King's book, which ideally should be placed as a source-book in every high-school and community library in the country!
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