Mallick, Krishna & Doris Hunter, eds, 2002. An Anthology of Nonviolence: Historical and Contemporary Voices. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. xxiv + 302 pp. ISBN 0313318794.

A review published in Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 40, No. 5, September 2003, p. 613.

pdf of published review

The ethical, individual approach to nonviolence predominates in this somewhat eclectic collection of readings. Several "historical sources of nonviolence" are represented, such as the Bhagavad Gita, but with little indication of how their influence has operated in practice. Next are well-known "historical voices of nonviolence" - Thoreau, Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. - followed by "contemporary voices of nonviolence" - the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh and Nelson Mandela. The section on contemporary issues covers worthy topics, from animal liberation to ecofeminism, but strangely with no explicit discussion of nonviolence in any of them. The final section, "application of nonviolence," includes some case studies, such as of the 1989 Chinese prodemocracy movement.

This volume could be useful as a reader in a class designed to sensitise students to personal ethical choices concerning violence and nonviolence. But on its own it gives an inadequate picture of nonviolence as an idea and as a practice. The relatively brief introduction to the volume concentrates on an ethical, individual orientation, while few of the selections themselves are given much context aside from blurbs about the authors. The result is breadth at the expense of focus. The bibliography, like the rest of the book, concentrates on the ethical side of nonviolence, but contains some sources unrelated to nonviolence while omitting classics by the likes of Gandhi and Gene Sharp, who are represented in the collection. Much more contextual material is needed to tie this together into a cohesive package.

Brian Martin

Go to

Brian Martin's book reviews

Brian Martin's publications on peace and war

Brian Martin's publications

Brian Martin's website