This book is a great idea - for who can describe nonviolence
better than its most famous, dynamic practicioners - Gandhi, Dr. King,
Penn, Thoreau, Emerson, even Buddha? So all in all, very good. The selections
are arranged chonologically, making almost a cohesive story.
By far the best work
was King's empassioned plea to end the Vietnam War. If you only
ever read one thing about Vietnam, read this. He sums up the history
of the country, from French colonialism to the atrocities committed by
America. It actually made me respect John Kerry more for his speaking
up against the war (A shame he is now seemingly ashamed of it, emphasizing
his militarism instead.)
This book could have been even better with some different
choices in selection:
Too much written about
nuclear weapons. Analyses of the Cold War seem hopelessly outdated
now, and this book is heavy with them. What about other WMD, and the
power of individuals, which drastically revises traditional
The selection picked of Gandhi's
was woefully short, especially since all twentieth-century work
with nonviolence is solely indebted to him. This was partially ameliorated
by the frequency with which subsequent authors referred to Gandhi.
Schell has written better work on nonviolence since The
Fate of the Earth.
Would have liked to see a selection of Einstein's.
There is a conversation about "communities of resistance" that seems
way too long compared with better selections.
include Buddha but not Christ's Sermon on the Mount?