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A Force More Powerful: A Century of Non-violent Conflict 1St Edition Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0312240509
ISBN-10: 0312240503
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  • A Force More Powerful: A Century of Non-violent Conflict
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A Force More Powerful challenges a longstanding myth that lies at the heart of much of the turmoil of the 20th century: that power comes from the barrel of a gun; based on convincing detail, Ackerman and Duvall dare to claim that nonviolent movements lead to more secure democracies.” ―Christian Science Monitor

“A skillful blend of sweeping narrative and tightly focused case studies, the book fills a vacuum in historical studies of the 20th century.” ―Philadelphia Inquirer

“This throughly researched and highly readable book underlines the contrast between stable democratic societies created by nonviolent movements and tyrannical regimes born of violent revolution. Recommended...” ―Library Journal

“...this book is an important documentation of non-violence as an attested historical force.” ―The Times Higher Education Supplement

About the Author

Peter Ackerman holds a Ph.D. in International Relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

Jack Duvall is President of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1St Edition edition (2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312240503
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312240509
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.6 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #160,147 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Why did revenge and vengeance dominate the 9-11 discussion by public officials and the media? Why do our public discourse and media images seem virtually bereft of the common sense that informs many other areas of life? This outstanding book could help fill the void. It consists of a dozen very well-written and well-documented case studies of the power of nonviolence in dealing with injustice on a national or international scale. And I mean the power of nonviolence like King and Gandhi lived it, not the stereotype of nonviolence as passivity or cowardice.
Good parents know revenge doesn't work with their children, good teachers know it doesn't work in the classroom, good citizens know it doesn't work in their community, and a growing proportion of the criminal justice world is embracing the vision of "restorative justice" as a much more functional grounding for most of their work. Even though the majority of people in the US know that revenge doesn't work, there is a lack of awareness of the power of nonviolence in the larger public arena, even though two thirds of the world's population has experienced nonviolent social change that was successful beyond anyone's wildest dreams in South Africa, Eastern Europe, the Philippines, Gandhi in India, the US civil rights movement, to name just a few case studies covered in this remarkable book.
As someone who has taught and worked in community centers in the highest crime areas of NYC and Oakland and directed conflict and peace studies programs for 80 public schools, a university, and several community and national organizations, I can affirm that people are hungry for the hope that comes from stories of nonviolence in action.
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Format: Paperback
This is a very important book and deserves consideration for inclusion in ALL history education classes in America, if not the world. Of course, many powers-that-be would be adverse to this subversive idea, since it would in effect, instruct people on how to take control of their own lives out of the hands of malfeasant, greedy politicians and instead empower democracy through democracy, rather than the current American vogue of democracy at the point of a gun. The book describes several of the well-known non-violent movements as well as lesser known ones, such as the German women who embarrassed the Nazis into returning their arrested Jewish husbands from certain death. The associated documentary is also outstanding. A must-have for anyone who hopes the world can save itself from itself (and I'm not sure I'm in that category.)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If the 20th Century was the bloodiest in human history given its wars, genocides, and Marxist ideological purges, it was also a century that spawned powerful challenges on every continent to the dictum that “might makes right.” Ackerman and Duvall take us inside those challenges.

I grew up in the 1960s learning about “peaceful resistance” and “civil disobedience.” These terms take my thoughts to Martin Luther King and Mohandas Gandhi. You’ll read of the non-violent movements these men nursed into being, and about other compelling stories of people who used right, reason and universal ethics instead of guns and bombs to defeat dictatorship and disenfranchisement: Solidarity in Poland; Denmark vs. the Nazis, Argentineans and Chileans, South Africans and Palestinians, Filipinos, Salvadorans, and many others.

Two things make this book stand out. First, it presents non-violent conflict as a methodology that is divorced from a particular creed, flag or political ideology. Readers who can’t let go of strong geopolitical biases or religious beliefs may be scandalized by some of the people and institutions cast as “heroes” of the non-violent movements chronicled here. The authors are challenging us to get past our biases so that we can understand something more universal than our political or nationalistic preferences might allow, about the relationship between people and their rulers.

Many are familiar with the Enlightenment idea that a government’s legitimacy is derived from consent of the governed. Ackerman and Duvall want us to see this not as a slogan or even a noble ideal to which we should aspire: but as universal truth all governments ignore at their peril, and that any oppressed people group can harness in the fight to exercise their inherent human rights.
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Format: Paperback
If your a social activists, and you sometimes feel that "progress" is a lost cause... READ THIS BOOK. If you are a political organizer, and it just doesn't seem worth it anymore... READ THIS BOOK. If you really believe in the power of Direct Action, but feel all used up and stale in your efforts... READ THIS BOOK. This is one of the few books available for people with leftisits, or humanist, causes that will make you smile and give you hope, and remind you that sometimes "the good fight" is a long one - but well worth it. It also takes one out of a self centered reality, and pays homage to those who have faught so hard before us. (and I am not talking about soldiers or fireman..)
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Format: Paperback
Excellent! One of the most powerful books I have ever read. Explodes the left-wing myth that revolutions only occur through violence a la Che Guevara, cites many examples where non-violence protest has ultimately changed the executive power of states from the Phillipines to El Salvador, and won people civil rights. Includes Gandhi and also the Civil Rights movement in the USA in the 60s as case studies.
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