Great Peacemakers: True Stories from Around the World is a wonderful book filled with the stories of historically significant individuals in brief biographical format. The book’s international appeal springs from the 20 refreshingly inspiring real-life stories that show readers of all ages that the power of the individual to create change that spans time is indeed possible.
The book is divided into five sections. Part One highlights individuals who stand out for their efforts of choosing non-violence for change, including Henry David Thoreau, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Anderson Sa. Part Two covers those who spent their lives living peace - Mother Teresa, Thich Nhat Hanh, Colman McCarthy and Oscar Arias. Part Three showcases people who have made their life’s work honoring diversity; these individuals include Bruno Hussar, Desmond Tutu, Riane Eisler and the Dalai Lama. Part Four highlights those who value all life, including Henry Salt, Albert Schwitzer, Astrid Lindgren and Jane Goodall. Part Five deals with those who have dedicated their lives to the health of the planet: Rachel Carson, David Suzuki, Nader Khalili and Wangari Maathai.
The 20 individuals are given an average of seven pages covering their life’s work, along with several photographs of each and a closing section of quotes. In the Conclusion, the authors offer thought-provoking questions to instigate creative dialogue about the individuals featured here. Great Peacemakers closes with a brief bibliography for each section, a fairly extensive index, a list of Photo Credits, and a full-page author bio - unusual in that most books offer only a paragraph about an author.
Great Peacemakers won the 2007 International Peace Writing Award from the Peace and Justice Studies Association and the ONMI Center for Peace, Justice and Ecology. The size of this paperback book from LTS Press is roughly 6X9”, with 195-pages, about 60 black and white photographs and an extensive index. Steve Hansen created the book design and composition.
Authors Ken Beller and Heather Chase are a married writing team working to promote peaceful and sustainable living throughout the world. Ken is the co-founder and president of the consulting firm Near Bridge Inc. Heather is the founder of Models With Conscience, an international group of models dedicated to promoting animal-friendly and environmentally-conscious products and causes. The authors offer free downloadable study guides through the site listed in the book, which include lesson plans, worksheets, answer keys and much more, an ideal resource for book clubs, service clubs, faith groups, and school, college and university classrooms.
I was virtually jumping up and down in ecstasy when I saw the blurb stating that the carbon emissions associated with the publication of this book (paper production, printing and shipping) have been offset with reforestation and renewable energy. As such, Great Peacemakers is a Certified Carbon FreeTM Product, and I applaud the authors for making this choice.
One of Great Peacemakers’s most notable assets is that the size of each section is not intimidating. Neither is the content, as it is not laden with heavy facts and dates. The authors simply highlight the passion of these individuals and the impressive, positive impact their lives have had on our world. I thoroughly enjoyed Great Peacemakers and highly recommend it. Read this book and prepare to be inspired.