We are pleased to announce that the American Academy of Religion named Joseph Kip Kosek’s Acts of Conscience: Christian Nonviolence and Modern American Democracy was named the Best First Book in the History of Religions prize.
For more on the book you can watch a video of Kosek discussing the book at the Library of Congress, a review from Religion in American History, read Kip Kosek’s post on the CUP blog The Power of Nonviolence, or read the book’s introduction.
Here is an excerpt from the book on Richard Gregg, an important figure in the history of the non-violent movement in the United States:
Everyone admires nonviolence when it remains safely in the past, but it looks a little too exotic, too effete, and perhaps even too religious to be much help in our present moment. Does nonviolence really have anything to offer amid the violent crises exploding around the world today? Seventy-five years ago, an American pacifist named Richard Gregg confronted an essentially similar question. His 1934 book The Power of Non-Violence was the first substantial attempt by an American to imagine nonviolence as a formidable strategy in the modern world, not simply as a virtuous allegiance to high-minded ideals. Many years after its initial publication, Martin Luther King, Jr. read The Power of Non-Violence and brought its central ideas into the nascent civil rights movement. King frequently cited the book as one of his most important intellectual influences, alongside the writings of Mohandas Gandhi and Henry David Thoreau. Gregg forced King, as he forces us, to realize that nonviolence is not merely admirable or historically interesting, but fundamentally necessary.