book reviews and comments

Critical Acclaim for A FORCE MORE POWERFUL, the Book

"A skillful blend of sweeping narrative and tightly focused case studies, the book fills a vacuum in historical studies of the 20th century, which all too often stress the themes of total war and bloody revolutions...If there is one lesson that Ackerman and DuVall emphasize in their splendid book, it is the necessity of maintaining nonviolent discipline in the face of frequently savage response by the governing elites..." The Philadelphia Inquirer

[A Force More Powerful] is a comprehensive and lucidly written addition to the literature of peace...Ackerman and DuVall, deserving of praise for writing nonideologically when they might easily and self-indulgently not have...use fourteen chapters to document and analyze history-altering reforms created by nonviolent strategies...A Force More Powerful will likely stand as a book more powerful than any guts-and-glory war memoirs by generals or gun-toters, or any extollings of military might by one-note historians." The Nation

"Based on convincing detail, Ackerman and DuVall dare to claim that nonviolent movements lead to more secure democracies. You only have to think about the 20th century to know they are right." The Christian Science Monitor

"This thoroughly researched and highly readable book underlines the contrast between stable democratic societies created by nonviolent movements and tyrannical regimes born of violent revolution. Recommended..." Library Journal


"These are powerful stories - about truth overcoming lies, love dissolving evil, and life eclipsing death. Nonviolent valor can end oppression, and the world of the 21st century will be safer, freer and more humane if it heeds the lessons of this book." Jimmy Carter, former President of the United States

"In their well-written, often moving book, A Force More Powerful, Peter Ackerman and Jack DuVall deliver a compelling argument for the efficacy of nonviolent resistance to tyranny.... This book explains how profoundly history has been shaped by men and women who had the courage to act for a cause greater than their self-interest, and, thus, could not be conquered by the most ruthless, well-armed adversaries. I recommend it to anyone who believes that power only flows from the barrel of a gun." John McCain, United States Senator

"Peter Ackerman's and Jack DuVall's informative and absorbing study on the inspired use of nonviolence as a force for peace lends meaning to Vaclav Havel's praise of 'the power of the powerless.'" Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize laureate

"Hope is a rare commodity in the struggle for justice. This book offers hope, but of a spare, hard-headed kind - the kind that appeals to the partisan as readily as the prophet - and it does so with eloquence and grace. If nonviolent resistance is a righteous strategy, this book is holy writ!" Dr. William F. Shultz, Executive Director, Amnesty International USA

"This book is a masterful revelation of the way that nonviolent resistance has created the power to overcome even the most extreme suppression of human rights, even the most dictatorial invasions of private life, even the most authoritarian rule. We have all looked at the clashes of arms of the past century as the primary drivers of political change. Ackerman and DuVall show us that, surprisingly, we also have much to learn from the lessons of nonviolent conflict. This is a book that all of us will want to read." General John R. Galvin (U.S. Army, retired), former Supreme Allied Commander, Europe (NATO)

"A Force More Powerful challenges the misguided notion that violence is the ultimate form of power. Peter Ackerman and Jack DuVall provide dramatic examples of how people have been empowered through strategic use of nonviolent action, depriving their armed oppressors of political control and creating the conditions for democracy." Richard H. Solomon, President, United States Institute of Peace

"A Force More Powerful tells the compelling stories of 20th century movements that made democracy a reality in the face of repression and cruelty. Peter Ackerman and Jack DuVall have engagingly chronicled the efforts of people as diverse as Polish shipyard workers and South African blacks to win their freedom through force of civic action rather than arms. This book will be valued by scholars and casual readers alike for its succinct, moving portrayal of some of the most important struggles of the past century." Warren Christopher, former U.S. Secretary of State