A lifelong farmer and peace activist ruminates on war and nonviolent resistance through anecdotes from world history and his own experience.
In this collection of short essays, Dull (Soviet Laughter, Soviet Tears, 1992) shares his thoughts on the potency of nonviolence. Presenting examples of successful peaceful resistance in Europe during World War II, he argues that nonviolence can be effective when confronting even the brutality and evil of Hitler. He demonstrates that war begets war, whereas nonviolent resistance wins over the violent impulse and causes it to collapse. Distinguishing between nonviolence and passive capitulation, Dull recounts incidents ranging from noncooperation campaigns to welcoming invading armies with open arms and gracious hospitality. He admits frankly that when a group practicing nonviolence confronts a violent aggressor, a few peaceful resistors may be injured or killed. But, as he points out, those casualties are far fewer than the millions killed in war. While his arguments and evidence are thought-provoking, the anecdotal and meandering way in which they are presented ultimately undermines the impact. Dull has spent his life traveling and talking to groups and individuals about nonviolence, which is evident in his easygoing, colloquial voice. This conversational style should be a strength, but mystifyingly obscure side comments often derail the journey. The brevity of his writings should be a blessing as well, but instead it offers the reader too many stopping points along the way. The longer essays concerning the war in Iraq are the most compelling, particularly when describing what he and his wife saw and heard first-hand during their visit to in '03. Indeed, the single disappointment of the book is that the remarkable journeys they have undertaken are not featured more extensively.
The diary of a farmer trying--often successfully--to sow the seeds of peace.