Book Review - Is There No Other Way? by Michael N. Nagler

There No Other Way? The Search for a Nonviolent Future

by Michael N. Nagler
$15.00, Berkeley Hills Books
335 pages, 2001

As I write, another suicide bomber has killed a bus load of schoolchildren in Israel, Israel is responding with a wall and more invasions, Pakistan and India are poised to nuke themselves and the world to oblivion, Japan is reconsidering its 50-year-old anti-nuclear weapons policy, and the US has withdrawn from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and the test ban and threatens first-strike use of nuclear weapons. It seems the human race may have no future, let alone a nonviolent one.

And yet there are voices of reasoned hope, among them Michael Nagler’s (see his article on the Nonviolent Peaceforce). There is another way, he insists, and he shows that way alive and working in the very darkest times and places. With story after story, Nagler demonstrates the ability of individual human beings to reawaken the empathy of bystanders, torturers, and bureaucrats through nonviolent action. Nonviolence works, Nagler argues, and it usually even ‘works.’ That is, nonviolent action can often have immediate effects, saving lives right then and there. But more importantly, nonviolence works deeply into the sources of conflict.

Nagler, whose book recently won an American Book Award, offers a vision of history in which each of us has the power to use nonviolence to change our course.

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