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Waging Nonviolent Struggle: 20th Century Practice And 21st Century Potential [Paperback]

Gene Sharp , Joshua Paulson , Christopher A. Miller , Hardy Merriman
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)


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Book Description

March 30, 2005 0875581625 978-0875581620
This groundbreaking new work builds on 50 years of Gene Sharp’s definitive academic research and practical experience aiding nonviolent struggles around the world.

Recently, advocates have applied these methods and strategies with great success in Serbia and Ukraine. In his most recent work, Dr. Sharp shows how to strategically plan nonviolent struggle and make it more effective.

In Waging Nonviolent Struggle, Dr. Sharp documents 23 significant—and often successful—20th century nonviolent struggles in a range of cultural and political contexts, and reaffirms nonviolent action as a realistic and powerful alternative to both passivity and violence.

Building on the power analysis of his seminal Politics of Nonviolent Action, Dr. Sharp coherently integrates his theories into praxis, with a vitality tested on the frontlines, often under extreme violence.

Any serious student—or practitioner—of nonviolent struggle will find this book an invaluable resource. Skeptics will be compelled to seriously consider nonviolent action’s viability.

Today’s world is in desperate need of realistic alternatives to violent conflict. Waging Nonviolent Struggle demonstrates that these alternatives exist.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


Editorial Reviews

Review

"A must-read for policymakers and practitioners who are finally asking 'How did it happen?'[in Ukraine and Georgia]" -- Jennifer Windsor, Executive Director, Freedom House

"Sharp is one of the most imaginative strategic thinkers of our time . . . a capstone to his mountainous works" -- Major General Edward B. Atkeson, U.S. Army (Ret.), PhD Senior Fellow, Institute of Land Warfare, Association of the U.S. Army

"This book is a masterpiece . . . very useful not only to those who study nonviolent struggle but also to . . . nonviolent activists." -- Srdja Popovic, Co-founder Serbian democracy movement Otpor

"Waging Nonviolent Struggle is a powerful encyclopedia of major campaigns that adhere to the philosophy and discipline of nonviolence." -- U.S. Congressman John Lewis

"[Sharp] has distilled . . . case histories, practical advice, and reflection to produce a work of the greatest value." -- Jonathan Schell, Peace & Disarmament Correspondent, The Nation --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Inside Flap

Today's world is in desperate need of realistic alternatives to violent conflict. Nonviolent action—properly planned and executed—is a powerful and effective force for political and social change. Recently, advocates have applied nonviolent methods and strategies with great success in Serbia and Ukraine. Waging Nonviolent Struggle builds on 50 years of Dr. Sharp’s definitive academic research and practical experience aiding nonviolent struggles around the world. It breaks new ground about how to strategically plan nonviolent action and make it more effective. Dr. Sharp and his team of scholars document lessons learned firsthand, from Tiananmen Square to the Latvian Supreme Council, and from witnesses to the freedom riders in Alabama and the anti-Nazi resistance in Norway. Building on the power analysis of his seminal Politics of Nonviolent Action, Dr. Sharp coherently integrates his theories into praxis, with a vitality tested on the frontlines, often under extreme violence. Any serious student—or practitioner—of nonviolent struggle will find this book an invaluable resource. Skeptics will be compelled to seriously consider nonviolent action as a tried, tested and proven alternative to both passivity and violence. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 598 pages
  • Publisher: Porter Sargent Pub (March 30, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0875581625
  • ISBN-13: 978-0875581620
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #605,253 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Gene Sharp has done more to advance our understanding and practice of strategic nonviolence than anyone except perhaps Mahatma Gandhi himself. Waging Nonviolent Struggle is a compendium of his wisdom developed over half a century of serious study, writing, and consulting. If I were to recommend one volume on nonviolent struggle to newcomers and experts alike, it would be this one. Its argument is nuanced with deep social and political theory and also includes a practical guide to strategic planning for activists.

During the past five decades, Sharp has analyzed and systematized historic examples of types of nonviolent direct action; he has observed, advised, and learned from contemporary movements, and charted directions for the future. Waging Nonviolent Struggle is the culmination of that work. It begins with an instructive autobiographical preface that reviews the evolution of his thought, proceeds to a concise introduction to the underlying theory of power and nonviolent action and then provides 23 short case studies that illustrate its efficacy. The finale of the book is a practical guide to strategic planners that draws on Sharp's research and experience, charting the future of nonviolent direct action as a reflexive and deliberate strategy rather than improvised response to concrete historical situations.

This will be the foundational text for introductory courses at the nonviolent equivalent of the war academies; it will teach scholars and guide activists. It contains the information one needs to have to understand the tectonic shifts in geopolitics of recent decades, in which nonviolent people power rather the military brute force has been primarily responsible for reshaping the globe. Yes, freedom is on the march, but not for the reasons trumpeted in the halls of political privilege.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Debunks common myths concerning this practice May 9, 2005
Format:Hardcover
Senior scholar at the Albert Einstein Institution of Boston, Massachusetts Gene Sharp and his team of like-minded researchers apply 50 years of history, academics, and practical experience to present Waging Nonviolent Struggle: 20th Century Practice and 21st Century Potential, a meticulous accounting of how nonviolent methodologies can combat dictatorships, war, genocide, and oppression. Waging Nonviolent Struggle is particularly valuable in its use of logic and close analysis of specific historical cases of nonviolent struggle to debunk common myths concerning the practice. Such myths include the contention that nonviolence is ineffective against dictatorships and genocide, or that nonviolent methodologies rely upon an appeal to the moral character of the opponent (in fact, nonviolent coercive techniques such as economic boycott and social noncompliance have an impact regardless of the humanitarian stature of the regime in question). The high value of properly applied and disciplined nonviolent resistance is demonstrated, in particular because nonviolent methodologies have the potential to bring successful results at a lower overall mortality rate than violent methodologies, and uninvolved third parties (a.k.a. "innocent civilians") are less likely to suffer collateral damage. Scrutinized case studies, overviewed and documented by a variety of different researchers, range from a successful protest of German women in Berlin to save their Jewish husbands (who had intermarried) from deportation and execution during World War II; the 1989 student uprising in China that ended in a tragic massacre; the successful defense of democracy in Thailand after a long succession of military coups; the successful removal of genocidal dictator Slobodan Milosevic from power in Serbia; and much more. Read more ›
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
As I become more familiar with Gene Sharp and his work, I am increasingly convinced that he is a tremendously important scholar.

The title aptly describes the raw basis for this study: the application of organized, efficient strategy to active nonviolent struggle instead of to destructive violent pursuits.

Don't be apprehensive about approaching this book, despite that it may appear to be daunting or complex subject matter. Surely, it is large (at over 500 pages), but Sharp uses efficient, clear language that all students and readers can understand. His authority on the matter is encyclopedic and makes this long text rather joyful.

Visit the Albert Einstein Institute website ([...]) to read about the author, as well as to download a few shorter PDF books about nonviolence and politics.

These downloads are free and present a practical way to preview Sharp's intellect before you purchase Waging Nonviolent Struggle.

And, especially if you're a natural leader, I hope you that you do buy this book (or rent it from a library). We need more leaders equipped with the courage to be humane and nonviolent. We've had our fill of leaders who are warriors, soldiers, warmongers and tyrants. Those kinds of leaders resort to the fist or the gun or the missile instead of using our spectacular brainpower to compromise.

The intelligence is present in the human genepool. We just need to practice using our intellects to safeguard human rights, rather than to abuse them.

Reading Gene Sharp's books is an important step in the direction of a better world, for people and animals alike.

Thanks for reading.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Deep, insightful & inspiring
This book created a revolution in my mind and thinking. It shows you practical ways to wage nonviolent struggle based on historical research and analysis. I love it!
Published 1 month ago by Samia Bano
4.0 out of 5 stars Good text on nonviolence
I use this text in my University for Seniors course on nonviolence. I'd rather it treated less cases but in more detail, but it still works well in my course.
Published 2 months ago by Bruce Mork
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful
I'm a student of whom want to follow the path of that type of author person. This book brought the insightful knowledge.
Published 4 months ago by Saksovuthy Say
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for organizing a movement.
Takes you through the key steps into creating a political movement. Some repetition, and carry over from author's previous publicans.
Published 7 months ago by Jpullaro
5.0 out of 5 stars These are the ideas that will make peaceful change possible
Gene Sharp's understanding of how citizens can influence their government without resort to violence is changing the world. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Karen L. Lane
5.0 out of 5 stars Great theoretical approach for practical purposes
After reading this book I could see the power of nonviolence where before I would not have understood how it works in reality. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Needed for a College Class
Was slight slow in arriving! But the price was right! This Book is interesting! I really just needed it for my class!
Published 17 months ago by Charlene J. Archer
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a text book!
Don't expect to be entering into a world of entertaining opinions or crafty jargon. This is a text book and it begins by breaking ideas and facts about nonviolent struggle into... Read more
Published 18 months ago by C. Beeken
5.0 out of 5 stars I nonviolence possible?
I have just stared to read this book but I am already glad I purchased it. I believe we will have a class struggle in our near future and hope it will be nonviolent.
Published 18 months ago by jack handley
5.0 out of 5 stars Foundation Work Not Yet Appreciated
In 1992 I was the second-ranking civilian in Marine Corps intelligence, and with the support of the Marine Corps, sought to get National Intelligence Topics moved from denied areas... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Robert David STEELE Vivas
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