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The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence, and the Will of the Peopleby Jonathan Schell
Synopses & Reviews
A visionary work that explores the limits of violence and charts an unexpectedly hopeful course toward a nonviolent future At times of global crisis, Jonathan Schell's writings have presented influential alternatives to conventional, dead-end thinking. His classic bestseller, The Fate of the Earth, was hailed by The New York Times as "an event of profound historical moment." Now as the world stands once more on the brink of upheaval, Schell reenters the fray with a lucid, impassioned, and provocative book that points the way out of the unparalleled devastation of the twentieth century toward another, more peaceful path. Tracing the relentless expansion of violence to its culmination in nuclear stalemate, Schell uncovers a simultaneous but little-noted history of nonviolent action at every level of political life. His historical journey turns up seeds of nonviolence even in the bloody revolutions of America, France, and Russia, as well as in the people's wars of China and Vietnam. And his investigations into the great nonviolent events of modern times--from Gandhi's independence movement in India to the explosion of civic activity that brought about the surprising collapse of the Soviet Union--suggest foundations of an entirely new kind on which to construct an enduring peace. As Schell makes clear, all-out war, with its risk of human extinction, must cease to play the role of final arbiter. The Unconquerable World is a bold book of global significance; far from being utopian, it offers the only realistic hope of safety. From The Unconquerable World: The twentieth century produced the most extreme violence that the human species had ever visited upon itself. It was natural--indeed, anecessity--that people would react against that violence, would seek ways to overcome it, to escape it, to go around it, to replace it. In earlier times, violence had been seen as the last resort when all else had failed. But in the twentieth century, a new problem forced itself on the human mind: What was the resort when that last resort had bankrupted itself? Was there a resort beyond the "final" resort? Nuclear deterrence and people's war were two groping, improvised, incomplete attempts to find answers to this question.
"This book mounts perhaps the most impressive argument ever made that there exists a viable and desirable alternative to the continued reliance on war." -The New York Times
At times of global crisis, Jonathan Schell's writings have offered important alternatives to conventional thinking. Now, as conflict escalates around the world, Schell gives us an impassioned, provocative book that points the way out of the unparalleled devastation of the twentieth century toward another, more peaceful path.
Tracing the expansion of violence to its culmination in nuclear stalemate, Schell uncovers a simultaneous but little-noted history of nonviolent action at every level of political life. His investigation ranges from the revolutions of America, France, and Russia, to the people's wars of China and Vietnam, to the great nonviolent events of modern times-including Gandhi's independence movement in India and the explosion of civic activity that brought about the surprising collapse of the Soviet Union.
Suggesting foundations of an entirely new kind on which to construct an enduring peace, The Unconquerable World is a bold book of sweeping significance.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 389-414) and index.
About the Author
Author of groundbreaking works, including The Time of Illusion, The Village of Ben Suc, and The Gift of Time (0-8050-5961-X), Jonathan Schell is a regular contributor to Harpers, Foreign Affairs, and The Nation. He has taught at Yale, Princeton, and Wesleyan and is a fellow at the Nation Institute and Harvards Kennedy School. He lives in New York City.
Table of Contents
pt. 1. Violence. The rise and fall of the war system — "Nuclear war" — People's war — pt. 2. Nonviolence. Satyagraha — Nonviolent revolution, nonviolent rule — The mass minority in action: France and Russia — Living in truth — Cooperative power — pt. 3. The civil state. The liberal democratic revival — Liberal internationalism — Sovereignty — pt. 4. The shapes of things to come. Niagara — The logic of peace.
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