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A Force More Powerful: A Century of Non-violent Conflict
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A Force More Powerful: A Century of Non-violent Conflict

4.1  ·  Rating details ·  236 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
This nationally-acclaimed book shows how popular movements used nonviolent action to overthrow dictators, obstruct military invaders and secure human rights in country after country, over the past century. Peter Ackerman and Jack DuVall depict how nonviolent sanctions--such as protests, strikes and boycotts--separate brutal regimes from their means of control. They tell in ...more
Paperback, 560 pages
Published October 5th 2001 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 2000)
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Apr 24, 2007 rated it really liked it
I saw Ackerman speak-- he's an interesting guy. Even better than the book is the companion documentary. Although I don't identify as catagorically pacifist, both the book and the film do a wonderful job of radicalizing nonviolence, and illustrating joy in revolution. Bust it up, ya'll.
Jun 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2011
The absolute canon on non-violence and civil resistance. How do we bring about change non-violently? What are some examples of such movements? The book answers these questions and asks many more. It changed my life. For more, check out the International Center for Non-Violent Conflict (ICNC).
Chelsea Usher
Jun 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
wonderful case studies for peace studies.
Apr 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books of case studies about nonviolence, especially for one new to the subject. Also a surprisingly fun read.
Dec 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
Peter Ackerman and Jack DuVall start A Force More Powerful out with a seemingly audacious claim -- that nonviolent resistance and action is superior to its violent counterpart not morally (although probably this too) but practically. Even after the disastrous wars of the past decade pacifism seems quaint and idealistic, even sacrificing results for one's own moral purity. To seem serious political leaders can only oppose war on tactical and not moral ground. But through many examples from 20th c ...more
Aug 06, 2014 rated it liked it
I only bothered finishing this book because of the many glimpses it gave into chapters of history that I didn't really know about all across the globe (people's movements in Burma, Philippines, Mongolia, Poland, Argentina, Palestine, etc etc). I appreciated the global breadth and scope. However, they were just glimpses, and I think there's a lot more that wasn't covered. I also found the authors' tone somewhat pedantic at times, and was annoyed at how they dismissed violent movements out of hand ...more
Sep 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
A Force More Powerful: A Century of Non-Violent Conflict is an excellent overview of non-violent conflict in the past 100 years or so. Inspiring and compelling, Peter Ackerman and Jack Duvall, not only create in this work a concise account, but argue persuasively that not only is the history of non-violent conflict and account of courageous change but it is more effective than armed methods, and that in fact, violent methods reduce the chances of positive change. This is easily seen for example ...more
Marwan Shalaby
Dec 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
“A Force More Powerful’ makes a wonderful case for the potency of non-violent resistance; it made me realise how militancy and violence are engrained in our middle eastern culture and it also totally changed my mind on “justified” armed opposition to counter unyielding brutal regimes. This book, by outlining cases from the dawn of the 20th century, in St Petersburg, to apartheid South Africa, moving to the Philippines and India, crossing Poland and reaching the American Jim Crow brutality and th ...more
Jan 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: violence-war
I appreciate the angle this book took: that nonviolence is not simply a moral choice, but also a powerful strategy to effect societal and political change. The authors use nonviolent movements from throughout the 20th century, not all of them successful, to illustrate how these strategies worked and why some of them failed. Reading it did bring up a few questions for me, like is there ever an instance when nonviolence is doomed from the start (the Rwandan genocide is one situation that comes to ...more
Jun 06, 2009 rated it it was ok
While they can't be lauded for impartiality, the authors are definitely biased in the right direction. In a series of case studies, the non-violent implementation of direct social action via peaceful protest and mutual cooperation is profiled and praised. Despite its unwieldy length, this book should be of great import to those in power, and to those who oppose that power when it becomes oppressive.
Jul 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
I've been reading book on and off for several months. For anyone interested in organizing and nonviolent action, and creating lasting social change -- this books offers a history of nonviolent conflict and success stories. It's a primer and more. Love it so far, almost done and happy to lend it to anyone interested in nonviolent action and organizing.
Mar 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful history of non-violence over the last century. By using historical examples the authors argue very convincingly for the practice of non-violence. Really helped me think about what peace would look like.
LaDon Love
Sep 04, 2007 is currently reading it
Recommends it for: everyone
This is both a book and video. It is a great way to begin a discussion on past and current politics and the potential of collective leadership. The examples are drawn from the US and abroad and capture the feeling of the times, people and issues.
Jun 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, non-violence
An amazing history of events most often absent from standard history, including the phenomenal story of the women of Rossenstrasse: German women who freed their Jewish husbands from the Nazis through days of non-violent protests!
May 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best comprehensive historical non-violent conflict resolution books that I've read. Truly, each story is one of hope that we can learn from our history, not only the mistakes we wish not to repeat, but methods and tools to use for future conflict resolution.
Craig Bolton
A Force More Powerful: A Century of Non-Violent Conflict by Peter Ackerman (2001)
May 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
It was an amazing book a little longer than I would have wished but good none the less. It makes me want to go and read Gene Sharp's work now.
Aug 17, 2009 rated it liked it
So far, though I've found a couple of factual errors, I am totally enjoying this! The author shows where noncooperation was succeeding before moves to violence actually lost the power.
Oct 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Very informative book.
Glen Gersmehl
Dec 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
companion volume to the terrific movie and PBS series -- each of its six 24 min. segments makes for a great discussion starter for workshops or introductory forums
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Dec 21, 2012
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Peter Ackerman is series editor and principal content advisor for the documentary television series, A Force More Powerful. He holds a PhD in International Relations from the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy at Tufts University, of which he is now Chairman of the Board of Overseers.
More about Peter Ackerman...

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