This book is a critical, empirical analyses of nonviolent movements and resistance throughout the world. Bartkowski and other contributors provide readers with concrete and ordinary examples of people struggling for eman-cipation and justice against oppressive, violent governments and colonizers. The primary thesis focuses on the significance of how many nonviolent methods, strategies, and practices, in the last 200 years, were integral to national self-determination, by common people, instead of the often glam-orized attention given to armed actors of violence (pp. 1-2). Repudiating the myth of the necessity and inevitability of violent revolutions, the editor and contributing authors recover histories of nonviolent civil resistance that are both inspiring and informative. By focusing on people power instead of state or institutional power, Bartkowski unequivocally asserts, ". . . the force that shapes nations and propels their resistance lies in the organized, purposeful, and defiant actions of an unarmed population" (p. 3).
Recovering Nonviolent History challenges the common conception that nations are created through war and through the blood of its warriors by presenting fifteen case studies of nation building through nonviolent resistance in the shadow of warfare. The authors of this publication assert that the bloody battles of liberation, so often glorified in subsequent national histories, may only mask or perhaps even subvert the task of developing a strong national identity through the quiet unheralded communal and collective actions of resistance.
Political science and sociology have long regarded nation-building as a fundamentally violent process. As Charles Tilly famously argued, ‘War makes the state, and the state makes war.’ This volume challenges this claim, arguing instead that popular nonviolent struggles have been equally influential in defining peoples, cultures, and borders. In Recovering Nonviolent History, Maciej Bartkowski has assembled a compelling set of research articles that describe the many ways that people power movements have actively confronted foreign occupation, colonial influence, and territorial domination in ways that have affected the current global landscape.
Reclaiming nonviolent history published in Open Democracy, Aug. 1, 2013. Reexamining major historical campaigns for independence or liberation, "Recovering Nonviolent History" makes clear how much we owe to the efforts of average people fighting for independence or liberation with civil resistance. The popular mass movements presented by the editor, Maciej Bartkowski, and the authors - of whom I am one - reveal that people-power struggles have been significant, if overlooked, in the molding of collective national identities and institutions.
BOOK REVIEW: Recovering Nonviolent History: Civil Resistance in Liberation Struggles, published in PEACE Magazine, July-September 2013. (...) This collection of essays, put together by Maciej J. Bartkowski, show in considerable detail the varied roles played by civil resistance in fifteen liberation struggles in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas. (...) Recovering Nonviolent History sets out to rescue the basic historic truth that social forces are mightier than the gun when it comes to achieving progressive change.
Celebrate the Nonviolent Fourth of July, published in Waging Nonviolence, July 4, 2013. (...) A powerful addition to this growing bibliography is Recovering Nonviolent History: Civil Resistance in Liberation Struggles, a new collection edited by Maciej J. Bartkowski. Here the authors ask a powerful question of the historical experience of national or societal liberation: has nonviolent civil resistance played an often ignored or forgotten role in these efforts? In the 15 cases featured here (...) — the answer is a resounding, “Yes.”
Recovering Nonviolent History: Civil Resistance in Liberation Struggles edited by Maciej J. Bartkowski is one of the best books I have read on this subject in decades. It is so well documented with cases and so superbly interpreted with fresh theory that I wish it could be on the best-seller list. It tells us how people are learning nonviolent resistance through the rise of social movements and collective identities. It reveals how nonviolent action has worked effectively using different strategies around the world for a long time. Notably, the book recovers new historical cases of civil resistance in addition to the already impressive database of 106 mass-based struggles against dictatorship, occupation, and self-determination that occurred between 1900 and 2006.1