Throughout history civilisation has been shaped by war. Now, after a century of unprecedented devastation, it seems humankind is preparing to embark on another cycle of violence. Are we condemned to be in a state of perpetual warfare? Jonathan Schell has consistently been one of the most influential and eloquent voices in the debate about global warfare and the arms race. His bestseller, The Fate of the Earth, focused on the case for nuclear disarmament and may have helped shape two decades of thinking about man's relationship with agents of destruction. Now, as the international order is once more in a state of upheaval, Schell has written another provocative book that aims to point the way out of the bloodshed of the twentieth century. Schell strives to show how the underlying dynamics of history have often been shaped not by military actions, but by battles for the hearts and minds of the people.His close re-examinations of the British, French and Russian revolutions, the collapse of Soviet power in eastern Europe in 1989, the war in Vietnam and other key moments in history illustrate how all these events can be understood in a new way when viewed through the prism of non-violence. Schell's aim is to show that there is, and always has been, an alternative to war as a way of directing human society.