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A Persistent Peace: One Man's Struggle for a Nonviolent World Hardcover – August 1, 2008


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A Persistent Peace: One Man's Struggle for a Nonviolent World + The Nonviolent Life + Lazarus, Come Forth!: How Jesus Confronts the Culture of Death and Invites Us into the New Life of Peace
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 456 pages
  • Publisher: Loyola Press (August 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0829427201
  • ISBN-13: 978-0829427202
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #72,948 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

One of 197 nominees for this year's Nobel Peace Prize, Dear recounts his nearly 30 years of waging peace through speaking, networking, writing (25 books so far) and spearheading nonviolent demonstrations. While studying at Duke University, he decided to forsake his frat-boy ways for life as a Jesuit priest. His resolution took further shape after graduation during a transformative pilgrimage to Israel: I would go forth from the Sea of Galilee forever opposing injustice, poverty, and war. From then on, Dear was in trouble most of the time. Repeatedly jailed and often rebuked by religious superiors as he doggedly criticized U.S. policies, violated state property and told influential people how to behave, he accepted suffering as the necessary cost of following Jesus. Though his account could use more introspection, he writes moving descriptions of atrocities he personally witnessed in Iraqi and in Central American war zones, and his humane concerns are evident in his work with 9/11 survivors. Unfortunately, his righteousness will alienate readers who do not already share his beliefs. (Aug.)
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From Booklist

Dear is a Jesuit priest who knows the inside of a prison cell all too well, having been arrested more than 75 times—at first blush, a shocking figure for a man of peace. His remarkable memoir, however, makes sense of it all. He takes the teachings of Jesus seriously and tries to live according to Jesus’ nonviolent ideals. This has made him unpopular with the military, the police, and members of his church. Once a fraternity guy at Duke University with visions of becoming a Jackson Browne/James Taylor–like singer-songwriter, Dear changed course after reading a memoir by Robert F. Kennedy about his pursuit of justice, and meeting a devout Catholic sophomore in a seminar on the art of biography. Dear vowed to reject violence as best I might and become a Jesuit priest, thereby embarking on a journey around the world, from the Holy Land to El Salvador, from New York City to Washington, D.C., from Northern Ireland to Palestine, and finally, to New Mexico. Dear’s account of it is inspiring, moving, and thoughtful. --June Sawyers

More About the Author

John Dear, SJ, is a Jesuit priest, peace activist, organizer, lecturer, and retreat leader. He is also the author/editor of twenty books on peace and nonviolence. John was recently nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa. John lives in northern New Mexico. Visit his Web site at www.persistentpeace.com.

Customer Reviews

Father John Dear's book, "A Persistent Peace", is a challenge for each of us.
Lynn Hoffman
Just read it as a memoir and I don't think you will be disappointed because there is at least one thing for everyone to learn from this man's life.
Dominique
He writes very naturally, and his book is fairly easy to read, which is fortunate for the reader since his book is fairly thick.
Therese

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Patrick O VINE VOICE on July 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Throughout Christian history there has been quite an interest in men and women who did great things, whether in this world or within their soul. These men and women weren't seeking self-satisfaction. Rather, they were truly seeking God and his work in them and in this world. The interest in such people often insisted they be viewed as saints, objects of devotion if not worship. Biographies written were often filled with stories of great victories, moral pronouncements, heroic stands. Little was said that would suggest these people had real personal histories or daily struggles or lived in complex times.

Glossing over the negatives, and thus the whole truth, these biographies were meant more as inspiration than history--inspiration for those already walking in their footsteps, devoted to the cause and method.

A Peristent Peace is such a book, though oddly enough not one written by a later disciple but rather written by the man himself, John Dear. This fact makes the book curious to review. I do not share his views on pacifism, yet I am sympathetic to them, and was very open to being convinced, enlightened and taught. I was curious how he formed his views, how he wrestled with the Catholic Church's official teaching, and in general the overall story of a man who has been on the frontlines of peace protests for the last thirty years.

I was disappointed, however. A Persistent Peace is a history of the icon, John Dear S.J, and even more the story of the names and places involved in the Peace movement since Reagan.

But we never really get to know the man, John Dear. The gift of an autobiography is that we can see not only the events, but also the internal perspective, wrestling, frustrations, development of the subject.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Jim Crosby on August 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Folks are always going to have qualms about the actions of the John Dears, the Daniel and Phil Berrigans, of this world. If for no other reason, we see the cost to them of their convictions and we are compelled to weigh both the courage of our own convictions and their potential cost to us. It is the same cost Jesus spoke of to his disciples when he turned his face toward Jerusalem in the gospels and began to speak ominously of his coming crucifixion.

I definitely count myself among the choir to whom Dear is preaching. I hope it is a big one. It includes everyone who wants to see peace on earth, and is wondering what they might do to contribute to its realization. It includes everyone who seeks to follow Jesus and is open to the emphasis of John Dear (along with Gandhi, MLK, Tolstoy, the Berrigans, Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin, Rene Girard, Eileen Egan, John Howard Yoder, Walter Wink, Andre Trocme, and Jim and Shelley Douglass...for starters) on the nonviolence of Jesus. I hope it especially includes young people who are just beginning to think about such questions, and who want a sense of the past thirty or so years from a radical Christian perspective.

What I loved about this book, as one who is slightly older than John and has lived through the same history, is the combination of the reminder of what's gone on and John's intrepid consistency in seeking out the heart of the action, the crisis points where the peacemaking focus of the gospel needed to be manifest. He went to El Salvador in the mid-eighties, and met the Jesuit priests there who would be slaughtered several years later. He could thus have a visceral clarity about the wrongheadedness (and wrongsidedness) of the official U.S. position vis-a-vis the Salvadoran people.
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Dominique TOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
A non-religious and non-political review

After reading the A PERSISTENT PEACE: ONE MAN'S STRUGGLE FOR A NONVIOLENT WORLD, I am going to use a different angle for my review. I'm going to focus on this autobiography without involving any religious and political implications. This is one of the books where I feel that others `fail to see the forest for the trees'.

My disclaimer: This book is an autobiography. It's a memoir. It is ONE man's view of the world. It is ONE man's life journey. It is the interpretation of how ONE man defines living `Christlike'. It should be interpreted as just that. It's not a manual of how he believes all Christians should be. It is not out to disrespect the military, government and other religions as a whole. It is simply one man's journey in the world. Focusing on this premise alone, there is a great deal to be learned from John Dear.

The writing is riveting and fascinating. The version I read was one that had not been proofed yet. Even with the extra material included, the book never dragged on or was boring. The writing skill of John Dear moved his story along. It kept me engaged in what was going on. It made me want to find out what his next adventure was going to be.

It amazes me that such a small sequence of events in John's earlier years lead him to the path that he eventually followed. In a world that has seemed to turn so materialistic and violent, it brings hope to see that there is at least one individual out there who chose to live a life of nonviolence and peace. Regardless of whether or not a reader agrees with what John believes in or backs every single one of his protests and views, it is an admirable quality. It is a rare quality.
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