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Since it was first awarded in 1901, only twelve women have won the Nobel Prize for Peace. Hailing from all over the world, including the United States, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Central America, some have held graduate degrees, while others are barely schooled. Some began their work when young, some well past middle age. One was titled and two were subsistence farmers. This book shows their varied lives in fascinating detail. Engaged and inspiring, these women clearly demonstrate that there is something each of us can do to advance a just, positive peace. Whether they began by insisting on garbage collection or simply by planting a tree, each understood that peace must be global in order to be sustained. All learned that peace is not always popular, but believed they must persevere. They shared a common vision and commitment undiminished by obstacles and opposition. All are truly champions for peace.
Posted September 4, 2006
These remarkable life stories of the twelve women who have won Nobel Peace Prizes are fun to read and an inspiration as well. As Judith Hicks Stiehm makes plain, they show what one person can do. And they show that you can do valuable work for peace without being rich or famous: 'They have been young, middle-aged, and old. They have been of titled nobility and subsistence farmers. They have held doctorates, and they have also been barely schooled.' (p. ix) A map (page x) displays the countries they come from--three from the United States, Jane Addams, Emily Greene Balch, and Jody Williams. Two are from Ireland, Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan. South America has one, Guatemala's Rigoberta Menchu Tum. Two are from Africa--Mother Teresa from Macedonia, and Wangari Matthai from Kenya. From Europe are Sweden's Alva Myrdal and Austria's Bertha von Suttner. From Iran, there is Shirin Ebadi, and from Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi. 'What they have had in common is a vision, a commitment to action, and a willingness to persevere in the face of criticism and, in some cases, imprisonment.' (p. ix) This book is meant for both women and men. Stiehm argues that it is mostly men who start wars on behalf of governments and in their roles as protectors, mostly men who fight them, and the violence they do is mostly to men. Thus, everyone needs to recognize that a lot of men have got to change if violence is to be avoided. She lists the men and organizations who have won Nobel Peace Prizes. I think every family should have this book, every teacher, every public official, every elementary and high school library, every public library,and every college and university library. I hope book clubs will make it their choice and their topic of discussion. I hope it will be translated into other languages. Many, many photographs add immeasurably to one's pleaure and understanding. The book has questions at the end for people in the Unites States and other countries to think about. The bibliographies for each chapter and the list of general sources give some hint of the extensive research and broad scholarship of this wise author.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.