The Unconquerable World Power, Nonviolence, and the Will of the People

Jonathan Schell

Holt Paperbacks



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448 Pages



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At times of global crisis, Jonathan Schell's writings have presented influential alternatives to conventional, dead-end thinking. His classic bestseller, The Fate of the Earth, was hailed by the New York Times as "an event of profound historical moment." Now, as the world stands once more on the brink of upheaval, Schell reenters the fray with a lucid, impassioned, provocative book that points the way out of the unparalleled devastation that marked the twentieth century toward another, more peaceful path.

Tracing the unlimited expansion of violence to its culmination in nuclear stalemate, Schell uncovers a simultaneous but little-noted history of nonviolent action at every level of political life. His historical journey turns up seeds of nonviolence even in the bloody revolutions of America, France, and Russia, as well as in the people's wars of China and Vietnam. And his investigations into familiar history—from Gandhi's independence movement in India to the explosion of civic activity that brought about the unpredicted collapse of the Soviet Union—suggest foundations of an entirely new kind on which to construct an enduring peace.

At a time when all-out war, with its risk of human extinction, must cease to play the role of final arbiter, The Unconquerable World, a bold book of global significance, offers the only realistic hope of safety.


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Author of groundbreaking works, including The Fate of the Earth, The Village of Ben Suc, and The Gift of Time (0-8050-5961-X), Jonathan Schell is a regular contributor to Harper's, Foreign Affairs, and The Nation. He lives in New York City.
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  • Jonathan Schell

  • Jonathan Schell, the author of several works, including The Time of Illusion, The Fate of the Earth, and The Village of Ben Suc, has been a contributor to The Nation, The New Yorker, Harper's, and Foreign Affairs, and has taught at Wesleyan, Princeton, and Emory, among other universities. He lives in New York.