The nonviolence bookshelf – an education in 18 volumes!

In March/April 2018, we selected 18 titles on nonviolence activism to give away.

They cover aspects of our core categories, which are –

  • Methods of nonviolent action (protest & persuasion – non-cooperation – nonviolent intervention)
  • Personal change (managing emotions – nonviolent communication – DIY culture & self-sufficiency – nonviolent parenting)
  • Equalities (tackling colonialism, slavery, racism, sexism, homophobia & transphobia – animal rights – the rights of nature)
  • Regenerative living (reducing waste and pollution – zero carbon initiatives – local food & energy production)
  • Peace & peacekeeping (disarmament – conscientious objection – resolving & preventing conflict)
  • Political & economic alternatives (redistributing wealth – free speech – freedom of information – democratic participation – tackling corruption)

For each area, we chose 3 titles that we hoped would inspire and inform activists old and new alike.

We asked entrants to tell us why they wanted to read these books, and we’ve included some of their comments below.

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The books

Methods of nonviolent action

‘I’d like to see non-violence championed as much as violence seems to be promoted’

  1. Hope in the Dark – Rebecca Solnit
  2. A Theory of Nonviolent Action: How Civil Resistance Works – Stellan Vinthagen
  3. The Nonviolence Handbook: A Guide for Practical Action – Michael Nagler

See all the comments here.

Personal change

‘From these books I would hope to gain a deeper understanding of how happiness, nature and communication can all be used as frames for instigating wider positive social change’

  1. Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life – Marshall Rosenberg
  2. Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life – Richard Louv
  3. Radical Happiness: Moments of Collective Joy – Lynne Segal

See all the comments here.


‘It would be nice to read them all with my book group’

  1. The Rights of Nature: A Legal Revolution That Could Save the World – David R. Boyd
  2. The Divide: A Brief Guide to Global Inequality and its Solutions – Jason Hickel
  3. Homegoing – Yaa Gyasi [fiction]

See all the comments here.

Regenerative living

‘I really want to use the books to show my children that there is hope and people do care’

  1. Life Without Plastic: The Practical Step-by-Step Guide to Avoiding Plastic to Keep Your Family and the Planet Healthy – Jay Sinha and Chantal Plamondon
  2. The Zero-Carbon House – Martin Godrey Cook
  3. Incredible! Plant Veg, Grow a Revolution – Pam Warhurst &‎ Joanna Dobson

See all the comments here.

Peace & peacekeeping

‘To wage peace we must be prepared to do a lot of reading, a lot of walking, much talking and the odd prison sentence for disarming or disrupting the machinery of war’

  1. Indefensible: Seven Myths that Sustain the Global Arms Trade – Paul Holden et al.
  2. Peace Journalism Principles and Practices: Responsibly Reporting Conflicts, Reconciliation, and Solutions – Steven Youngblood
  3. Understanding Restorative Justice – How Empathy Can Close the Gap Created by Crime – Pete Wallis

See all the comments here.

Political & economic alternatives

‘I think we could all do with finding out what alternatives there are and making an educated judgement’

  1. Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist -Kate Raworth
  2. The Activists’ Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Participatory Democracy – Aidan Ricketts
  3. Out of the Wreckage: A New Politics for an Age of Crisis – George Monbiot

See all the comments here.

Over to you

Fancy reading any of these yourself? If your local bookshop or library doesn’t already have them, it should order them in for you.

Or if you’re already pretty familiar with nonviolence theory and practice but you know someone who would get a lot out of one of these books, maybe pay it forward and gift them a copy?

Plus, as one entrant pointed out, some of these titles would make great book club choices.

Finally, tell us about any resources you’d recommend to people taking action for a nonviolent world. We plan to run more giveaways in future and we’d love to have your suggestions.


This round of giveaways was funded by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust. Thank you, JRCT!

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