Review by Choice Review
It is a surprise to learn that no prior encyclopedia has been published in the field of peace and nonviolence studies. Robert A. Seeley's The Handbook of Nonviolence (1986), World Encyclopedia of Peace (4v., 1986), Boris Gourevitch's The Road to Peace and Moral Democracy (2v., 1955), Gene Sharp's The Politics of Nonviolent Action (1973), the series "Garland Library of War and Peace" (1972-76), Christine A. Lunardini's The ABC-Clio Companion to the American Peace Movement in the Twentieth Century (CH, Mar'95), and Call to Action: Handbook for Ecology, Peace, and Justice (1990) have contributed to peace studies (irenology) and nonviolence, but none has brought together geographical, historical, and international information as this one does. The editors state as their purpose "to provide a standard reference work for an important domain of human behavior that has been well studied but incompletely identified." Contributors are from many fields (e.g., philosophy, history, political science, sociology, activism), and one of the best-known experts in nonviolence, author Gene Sharp (above), developer of the "technique approach" to nonviolent action, acted as an advisor. International in scope, PPC contains biographical and historical information about leaders and events. A bibliography and see also references end each entry. One of PPC's most helpful tools is the "Categorical Listing of Entries," which lists entries in the text and gives the dates of movements, strikes, boycotts, and people involved. Highly recommended for general and academic collections. S. Maret; University of Colorado at Denver
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review
Although a variety of forms of nonviolent action have been in existence for centuries, this appears to be the first encyclopedia devoted to the subject. The editors believe that nonviolence is a "universal phenomenon, transcending cultures, political systems, and even historical periods," and they include numerous examples. The introduction states that the volume is not meant to be exhaustive but, rather, representative and has a bias toward the U.S. in the twentieth century. The encyclopedia is arranged alphabetically. The main text is preceded by a list of entries by category--campaigns, events, locations, methods of action, organizations, people, and related topics. There are more than 125 contributors, with the majority of writers having U.S. college or university affiliations. Others have close connections to nonviolence. The entry for ahimsa, a Sanskrit word (which "conveys a comprehensive meaning of nonviolence") made prominent by Mohandas K. Gandhi, is written by M. K. Gandhi's grandson Arun Gandhi, director of the Gandhi Institute in Memphis. The entries for countries are lengthy--Australia is six pages, China is seven pages--while those for people or campaigns are less than a page. Methods of Nonviolent Action includes a comprehensive list of 198 methods of nonviolence, from making formal statements (public speeches, petitions) to political intervention (disclosing identities of secret agents, seeking imprisonment). There is also an excellent discussion of principled nonviolence. A few black-and-white photographs add to the text, including a photograph of Gandhi taken by Margaret Bourke-White. The index is comprehensive, and there are numerous bibliographic references and see references. A minor criticism is the lack of running headings on the top of each page. This is a unique, well-written, informative encyclopedia that should be a part of any academic or large public library collection.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.