Conflict is inevitable. War is not.

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BooksLibrary display in Illinois

The Beyond War Northwest Book Group has been reviewing books monthly since January 2009. We started with recommendations from the international Beyond War members and from the students in the Beyond War class at Portland State University. Click here to see that original list.

The books listed below were selected as the best by the local book discussion group. They illustrate and advance Beyond War ideas that war is obsolete and not inevitable, that we are one on this planet, and that means determine ends, that a peaceful approach when responding to conflict makes likely a peaceful end to that conflict.

We have put the books into categories:  Observation, Diagnosis, and Prescription. We are always looking for suggestions of other books and welcome interested people to join the book group or start your own.

OBSERVATION – Fiction, Memoirs, Histories–descriptions of the reality of war to the one who does the fighting:

Napoleonic War

  • “War & Peace,” Leo Tolstoy

Civil War

  • “March,” Geraldine Brooks
  • “Red Badge of Courage,” Stephen Crane

Spanish Civil War

  • “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” Ernest Hemingway

World War I

  • “All Quiet on the Western Front,” Erich Maria Remarque
  • “Generals Die In Bed,” Charles Yale Harrison
  • “To End All Wars, Adam Hochschild
  • “Conscience,” Louisa Thomas

World War II

  • “The Good War,” Studs Terkel
  • “Slaughterhouse 5,” Kurt Vonnegut
  • “Ceremony,” Leslie Marmon Silko
  • “The Naked & The Dead,” Norman Mailer

Vietnam War

  • “The Things They Carried,” Tim O’Brien

Iraq War

  • “Yellow Birds,” Kevin Powers


DIAGNOSIS – What causes men to fight:

  • “War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning,” Chris Hedges
  • “Terrorism and War,” Howard Zinn
  • ”A Peoples History of the United States,” Howard Zinn


PRESCRIPTION – Visions for building peace including Personal, Social/Political/Institutional, and Ecological spheres:


  • “Speak Peace in a World of Conflict,” Marshall Rosenberg
  • “Non-Violent Communication,” Marshall Rosenberg
  • “The Third Side,” William Ury
  • ”I Shall Not Hate,” Izzeldin Abuelaish
  • “Practicing Peace in a Time of War,” Pema Chodron
  • “Cultivating Peace,” James O’Dea
  • “What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife,” David Harris-Gershon
  • “The Terrorist’s Son,” Zak Ebrahim


  • “Creating a World without Poverty,” Muhammad Yunus
  • “The Life You Can Save,” Peter Singer
  • “Mountains Beyond Mountains,” Tracy Kidder
  • ”Fist, Stick, Knife, Gun,” Geoffrey Canada
  • ”Trustbuilding,” Rob Corcoran
  • “Leaderless Revolution,” Carne Ross
  •  “Living Beyond War,” Winslow Myers
  • “The Twilight of the Bombs,” Richard Rhodes
  • “The Seventh Decade,” Jonathan Schell
  • “The Search for a Non-Violent Future,” Michael Nagler
  •  “Death of Innocents,” Sister Helen Prejean
  • “Half the Sky,” Nicholas Kristoff & Sharyl WuDunn
  • “Walk Out, Walk In,” Margaret Wheatley & Deborah Frieze
  • “Knowing Mandela,” John Carlin
  • “The Nonviolence Handbook,” Michael Nagler
  • “I Have a Dream, Writings & Speeches that Changed the World,” Martin Luther King, Jr., edited by James M.Washington
  • “Waging Peace” David Hartsough


  • “Deep Economy,” Bill McKibben
  • “Hot, Flat and Crowded,” Thomas Friedman
  • “Getting a Grip 2,” Frances Moore Lappé