6 Great Books on Nonviolence


The late Dr. Gerard Vanderhaar was the author of six books on nonviolence as well as numerous articles and other publications. He was also Professor Emeritus of Religion and Peace Studies at Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Tennessee, where he taught for twenty-eight years.

Dr. Vanderhaar has greatly contributed a deeper understanding toward the power of nonviolence and we encourage anyone who hasn’t had a chance to read his books to do so!

John Dear wrote in the intro to Personal Nonviolence, “Many of us work hard to end war, injustice and nuclear weapons. We’re often not so good at radiating peace to those around us. Gerry Vanderhaar’s book will help us all go deeper into the practice of inner nonviolence and personal peace….

Read more about Dr. Vanderhaar’s books below and pick up your copies from our online store today. You can also learn more about Dr. Vanderhaar and the symposium founded in his honor to further his legacy of peace and nonviolence education here.

Active Nonviolence: A Way of Personal Nonviolence

Written to provide a down-to-earth, practical guide for achieving peace in our personal lives through active nonviolence, the book features stories from the pioneers of nonviolence–Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Catholic Worker founder Dorothy Day. All are engagingly woven in with those of ordinary persons who have adopted a nonviolent perspective. The author fervently shows how everyday events, such as our conversation, our dealings with difficult (and hostile) people, even our highway driving, can be done in a nonviolent and, as a result, spiritually nourishing way.

Order Active Nonviolence here!

Beyond Violence: In the Spirit of the Nonviolent Christ

Vanderhaar shows how figures like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day and others have taken the example of the Nonviolent Christ as their guide for living and working justly and courageously in the world. He then offers suggestions for incorporating gestures of peace and words of compassion and justice into our daily dealings at home, at work, with difficult people, and as part of the political process.

Order Beyond Violence here!

Christians and Nonviolence in the Nuclear Age:
Scripture, the Arms Race, and You

This book assesses the terrible realities of the Nuclear Age and sophisticated weapons systems in light of the biblical teachings about idolatry. Then it presents the life of Jesus as a model upon which women and men of good will can pattern a lifestyle of nonviolence.

Christians and Nonviolence in the Nuclear Age proposes a new vision of self, country, and the world that measures up to the demands of the times. In light of that vision, the book suggests specific actions individuals and groups can take to change the course of our world from self-destruction to mutual understanding and cooperation.

Order Christians and Nonviolence in the Nuclear Age here!

Enemies and How to Love Them

This compassionate book describes the making of enemies in our personal, social, and national lives. It goes on to outline a nonviolent approach to resolving enmity wherever it arises.

It taps the rich resources of Jesus’ two-thousand-year-old formula, “Love your enemies,” with the help of our contemporary understanding of Gandhian active nonviolence. The author offers a life-changing, habit-breaking approach of understanding, focusing, and negotiating as a positive alternative to the usual flight-or-fight response to enemies.

Order Enemies and How to Love Them here!

Personal Nonviolence: A Practical Spirituality for Peacemakers

In this book, a compilation of much of his decades-long work on nonviolence, the author explains how a spirituality of nonviolence provides methods and guidance in everyday activities such as speech, leadership, and dealing with difficult people or even those who might be seen as enemies. He outlines how this spirituality helps us to understand both our gifts and our shortcomings and to deal with the challenges of life in the twenty-first century. Understanding nonviolence can guide peacemakers to a practical spirituality based on the nonviolent Christ, our guide and inspiration.

Order Personal Nonviolence here!

Why Good People Do Bad Things

Why Good People Do Bad Things sheds new light on the ethical dilemmas of modern life. It shows how people of good will who are generally thoughtful, caring, and reasonably well balanced can unwittingly contribute to the evils present in our social systems.

In exposing these situations, this book also offers the hope that these same “good people” can take a fresh look at the world around them. In doing so, they can then see the potential of our world as well as its defects, and determine to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

Order Why Good People to Bad Things here!

Ryan Hall