Hot Reading for Cold Winter Nights
From Escalation to Resolution, second edition
Louis Kriesberg, Roman & Littlefield, 2003, paper
Anti-war activists would do well to better understand the dynamics of conflict,
struggle and war. Peace activists would do well to learn how a war can be prevented
or transformed into a peace. In his recent book Louis Kriesberg provides a comprehensive
analytic framework for preventing war and for moving through war and other spirals
of violence to peace.
Kriesberg is professor emeritus of sociology at Syracuse University. He was
the founding director of the Maxwell Schools Program on the Analysis and
Resolution of Conflicts (PARC). Hes the author of numerous books and scores
of articles. He has extensively revised and updated this second edition of Constructive
In his preface Kreisberg writes, I wanted to develop an empirically grounded
understanding of how people prevent or stop destructive conflicts but instead
wage relatively constructive conflicts
.[M]any potentially destructive
struggles never happen and even when they do, many become transformed and even
resolved so that they do not recur. Furthermore, recognizing the inevitability
and at times the necessity of struggle if injustices are to be overcome, I believe
that more knowledge is needed about how conflicts can be pursued constructively.
I want to improve peoples understanding so that they can wage their struggles
Kriesbergs 429-page book is a systematic and scholarly study, the fruit of years of observation, research and reflection. Although the study focuses on conflicts entailing immense violence, its framework provides constructive ways of conducting all kinds of conflicts through their stages of escalation, de-escalation and settlement.
Addicted to War: Why the
U.S. Cant Kick Militarism
Joel Andreas. AK Press. 2002, paper
Addicted to War is a great example of a text that uses history
to make a point. As an illustrated exposé, it uses pictures and a lot
of crazy cartoons of politicians and warmongers to tell its story. So whats
not to love?
This book is a great way to spend your afternoon, and the ending is magnificent.
Its all about the US habit of making war, and how those habits are
shaping, and destroying our country. The ending is about the domination of military
interests over human interests in recent times.
While I enjoyed the ending, the somewhat constricted viewpoint of US history
was troubling. However, I do understand that much of the worlds history
is heavily dominated by the interests of a few, and that the author is using
history to make his point. Its clear that an illustrated exposé
needs to simplify complex ideas to get its point across, and that in the process,
things will inevitably be left out. While I found no factual errors, the authors
points werent supported with persuasive evidence. This made me a bit skeptical
about his arguments validity. I dont suggest you ignore his points,
but rather that you not accept them without doing some other reading of your
Read this book to complement the knowledge you already have of US history.
Dont ignore what this book is trying to tell you its message
is valuable and especially pertinent to the present. Finally, read the ending
twice; its an incredible eye opener, and a great call back to the reality
of where most of our money really goes.
Tina Musa is a senior at Manlius Pebble Hill, is
active with SPCs Youth Empowerment for Peace and serves on the SPC Steering
An Ordinary Persons
Guide to Empire
Arundhati Roy, South End Press, 2004
Debating imperialism is like debating the pros and cons
of rape. What can we say? That we miss it?, Roy writes. As she does so,
she cuts deep into the heart of an argument with deadly accuracy and effectiveness.
Roy has an uncanny knack for weaving together many different strands of the
global imperial project in language that is direct, poetic and incisive. She
is able to show us how a grossly unjust, inhuman exploitative system works,
the tools it uses, and what we can do to dismantle it. Read it -- you will no
longer confine your resistance to wringing your hands in despair.
The Enigmas of Easter Island,
John Flenley and Paul Bahn, Oxford University Press, 2003
Most people know of Easter Island as the home of many huge statues
facing the coast. These tower 12 to 25 feet above their grassy base. This small
remote Pacific island, once a lush tropical forest, now has very limited flora
and fauna and no trees.
For those looking to learn more about the island, Enigmas provides up-to-date scientific analysis of what went wrong, and when. Its authors sort out the different theories and present the consensus view of what led to the present condition of the island.
The picture is bleak, but the lesson is valuable and gives insight into our disregard for our earth. Technically precise yet readable, Enigmas makes you think even more about how we all contribute to the despoilation of the environment and what the catastrophic consequences of this might be.
Ferdinand the Bull
Munroe Leaf, Viking Press, 1936
As the season moves over us, a timeless story to share with your
children is Ferdinand the Bull. This storys decisive words
and simple illustrations never fail to reinforce the crucial themes of peace,
courage, and the importance of ones own individuality in a world where
those traits seem to be slipping away.
Ferdinand is a Spanish bull who shares his quiet manner, his love of nature, and his desire for peace, even within a society that celebrates and ritualizes violence. This story is a perfect way to talk to your children about bringing peace to their world.
Growing Up Palestinian
Laetitia Bucaille, Princeton University Press, 2004
Laetitia Bucaille in Growing Up Palestinian provides
a rare look inside the Occupied Territories where she lived for more than a
decade, months at a time. A former journalist and French political scientist,
she tracks several men caught up in both Intifadas. Laetitia Bucaille then analyzes
what unites and divides Palestinians and what deepens the chasm between Palestine
Laetitia explains how Palestine became mired in corruption, class
conflict, political tension and opposing liberation strategies. From Hamass
rejection of the Oslo Accords to the inability of the Palestinian Authority
to create a democratic government, and from Israels overwhelming power
to its destructive search for security, she paints a bleak but illuminating
Citizens Of The Empire: The
Struggle To Claim Our Humanity
Robert Jensen, City Lights Publishers, 2004
I highly recommend Citizens of the Empire to those
who are just thinking about getting involved, as well as to those who need a
shot in the arm after a long, difficult time of struggling to make a difference.
Jensens book on current policies and the workings of power and government
shows the reader, in an engaging way, that we do make a difference in this world
and that its our duty to understand and act on our being a part of this
country. In this time of frustration and suspicion, its refreshing to
come out from reading a book with a boost of energy and a desire to get right
back into the struggles!
Free to Be
You and Me
Marlo Thomas, Running Press, 1997
This classic collection of stories, songs and poems should be
on every familys shelf. The book was one of the first works of childrens
literature that taught about individuality, self-esteem, gender equality, multiculturalism
and friendship. Included are works that teach children about different kinds
of families, togetherness, belonging and the balance of independence and attachment.
Entertaining and educational, this was one of the greatest gifts my parents
gave me when I was a child and one Im overjoyed to pass on to my own children.