Nonviolence: The History of a Dangerous Idea

Nonviolence: The History of a Dangerous Idea


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Nonviolence: The History of a Dangerous Idea by Mark Kurlansky

In this timely, highly original, and controversial narrative, New York Times bestselling author Mark Kurlansky discusses nonviolence as a distinct entity, a course of action, rather than a mere state of mind. Nonviolence can and should be a technique for overcoming social injustice and ending wars, he asserts, which is why it is the preferred method of those who speak truth to power.

Nonviolence is a sweeping yet concise history that moves from ancient Hindu times to present-day conflicts raging in the Middle East and elsewhere. Kurlansky also brings into focus just why nonviolence is a “dangerous” idea, and asks such provocative questions as: Is there such a thing as a “just war”? Could nonviolence have worked against even the most evil regimes in history?

Kurlansky draws from history twenty-five provocative lessons on the subject that we can use to effect change today. He shows how, time and again, violence is used to suppress nonviolence and its practitioners–Gandhi and Martin Luther King, for example; that the stated deterrence value of standing national armies and huge weapons arsenals is, at best, negligible; and, encouragingly, that much of the hard work necessary to begin a movement to end war is already complete. It simply needs to be embraced and accelerated.

Engaging, scholarly, and brilliantly reasoned, Nonviolence is a work that compels readers to look at history in an entirely new way. This is not just a manifesto for our times but a trailblazing book whose time has come.

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780812974478
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/08/2008
Series: Modern Library Chronicles Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 237,304
Product dimensions: 5.19(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.44(d)

About the Author

Mark Kurlansky is the New York Times bestselling and James A. Beard Award—winning author of Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World; Salt: A World History; 1968: The Year That Rocked the World; The Basque History of the World; and The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell; as well as the novel Boogaloo on 2nd Avenue and several other books. He lives in New York City.

From the Hardcover edition.


New York, NY

Date of Birth:

December 7, 1948

Place of Birth:

Hartford, CT


Butler University, B.A. in Theater, 1970

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Nonviolence: The History of a Dangerous Idea 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Ehrgott More than 1 year ago
Presents a clear history of the idea of non-violence so that we see how it fits in with modern life and challenges preconceived notions of what will or will not work in confronting the evils of this world. Though I may not yet be there with the author in total belief, his arguments are important for us to consider before we choose courses of action that present violence as the answer to our problems.
Aedhan More than 1 year ago
A helpful introductory book for undergraduates. I use it in my course on Nonviolence.
Beachparrot More than 1 year ago
This book was fascinating. I highly recommend it.
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