Under the term ``pacifist,'' London Times reporter Moorehead (Fortune's Hostages, etc.), gathers those who, out of deeply felt rationality, humanism or religious conviction, have defended peace or challenged the power of the state. Protest movements sparked by World Wars I and II were succeeded by Gandhi's passive resistance against the British, Martin Luther King's civil rights marches and worldwide antinuclear demonstrations. While tracing the various international peace initiatives and reviewing pacifist-inspired literature, the author incisively portrays not only such well known individuals as Bertrand Russell, Pastor Martin Niemoeller, Bayard Rustin and the Berrigan brothers, but a wide variety of men and women (many of whom she interviewed) related only by their common determination to oppose violence of any kind, even if it meant brutal imprisonment, torture or even death. Although the book focuses on British pacifists, Moorehead also devotes chapters to the specific concerns of groups in Japan, East and West Germany, and the U.S. (July 28)
Not a comprehensive history of 20th-century pacifism, this book instead offers a glimpse of the various personalities who have fueled modern antiwar movements. One of the book's chief virtues is that it is wide-ranging. The inquiry is not limited to well-known pacifists like Bertrand Russell and Eugene Debs. It also treats obscure figures, such as British women who refused war work during the blitz, Jehovah's Witnesses, and even a German pacifist who survived the concentration camps. No matter their class, nationality, or education, however, there is a common thread among the subjects: They are best viewed as ``custodians of individual freedom'' who together have made up one of the most persistent, if unsuccessful, mass movements of our century. Recommended. Ann H. Sullivan, Tompkins-Cortland Community Coll. Lib., Dryden, N.Y.