Item description for I'd Rather Teach Peace by Colman McCarthy...
Overview In 1982 Washington Post columnist Colman McCarthy was invited to teach a course on writing at an impoverished public school in Washington D.C. He responded, "I'd rather teach peace." Since then, he has had more than 5,000 students in his classes on nonviolence, pacifism, and conflict management. In the past 20 years, no other journalist in Washington has had as broad a commitment to both writing and teaching. In addition to the first high school, where he still volunteers, McCarthy has accepted invitations to teach in a junvenile prison, Georgetown University Law Center, the University of Maryland, American University, and two more high schools.
September: Don't Ask Questions, Question The Answers October: Give The World Your Best Anyway November: Ideas To Practice, Not Mull December: Power With, Not Power Over Semester's End: A Few Of The Many Who "Got It" 140 Pages
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Studio: Orbis Books
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.54" Width: 5.65" Height: 0.67" Weight: 0.71 lbs.
Release Date Apr 30, 2002
Publisher Orbis Books
ISBN 1570754306 ISBN13 9781570754302
Availability 0 units.
More About Colman McCarthy
Colman McCarthy, a columnist for The Washington Post for 28 years, now directs the Center for Teaching Peace, a non-profit organization that helps schools establish peace studies programs.
Colman McCarthy currently resides in Washington, DC.
Reviews - What do customers think about I'd Rather Teach Peace?
I'd Rather Teach Peace Oct 1, 2008
That's the name of the book too. If you read this book, you may find yourself agreeing. Don't read this book if you'd rather not find a place for your ideals in your life. That's how many people will conclude they need to be. We are conditioned and rewarded to abandon our principles in the quest for success and in our striving to dominate and eliminate perceived threats to survival.
Coleman McCarthy understands that we have it upside down. Don't read this book unless you want to be inspired. We are taught violence from the moment we are born and McCarthy describes a simple alternative that he has been living for more than twenty years; teach peace. He leads students of all ages - including elementary age, where we most need to begin - and prisoners, including the many young, black male victims of culturally ingrained injustice - to the study of Ghandi, non-violence, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King, Jr., Daniel Berrigan and others like them. He suggests, yes illuminates, the fact that we can and must act on the ideals of peace and non-violence that exist in us all, but are only buried by the current institutions of our culture and the world.
Don't read this book if you want to stay asleep. Right now, in today's world, as the US financial system spins quickly into oblivion, we need to orient to the values of peace; need to quickly develop a felt understanding of the quality of life available to each and everyone of us if we teach peace, live peace, give peace, are peace. But we will naturally respond differently to the catastrophe. We will grip even harder onto that which we know, are comfortable with, have been taught. We have been taught violence. We will need to learn something new or suffer greatly.
In this book, Cole McCarthy describes his life of teaching in schools and prisons the elements of peaceful conflict resolution. He teaches the absurdity and ineffectiveness of pursing peace through violent means.
As we struggle in the coming years to resolve our personal confusion between survival and success, we will need to grab hold of peace and nonviolence lest we simply fall back into the dead end beliefs of fighting and overcoming instead of collaboration, compassion, relationship - not only with each other, but with the natural world as well. Our violent beliefs have brought us to where we are now, a catharsis of civilization.
Read this book. Pass it on and go forth into the emerging paradigm with an evolved consciousness. And if someone tells you that you are being too idealistic, politely, lovingly, emphatically teach peace. Suggest that they read the book too!
Inspiring Non-Violence and Social Justice Sep 12, 2008
Colman McCarthy's I'd Rather Teach Peace opens with his description of the first course he ever taught. Mr. McCarthy explains how an invitation to speak at a children's high school in Washington, DC in the spring of 1982 transformed his life, bringing challenges, but also opening the limitless possibilities to teaching peace. Upon deciding to enter the classroom, McCarthy had already accrued fourteen years as a syndicate columnist with the Washington Post. A Roman Catholic, McCarthy spent five years in a Trappist Monastery previous to his role as a journalist. This solid contemplative foundation is evident in the genuine, thought-provoking ideas Colman presents in his autobiography, I'd Rather Teach Peace.
To the politically moderate reader, a book as honest as Mr. McCarthy's might be either shocking or disregarded as ideological banter or both. At its core, McCarthy's book takes great strides in challenging the reader to think outside of a conformist and obedient society. These jabs are very intelligently constructed avoiding insult or condescension. In one succinct sentence of his preface, Colman states his objective in teaching, "Alternatives to violence exist and, if individuals and nations can organize themselves properly, nonviolent force is always stronger, more enduring, and assuredly more moral than violent force" (McCarthy xiii). Throughout his book, McCarthy expands on this idea, emphasizing the power of peace.
Taking place across a semester, McCarthy journals about his experiences in several different schools, ranging from Oak Hill Youth Center in Laurel, Maryland to Georgetown Law School. While a sizeable portion of the book follows from McCarthy's thoughts and ideologies, the meat of the narrative is derived from McCarthy's students and their reactions to his teachings. This is a particularly strong aspect of I'd Rather Teach Peace for the way in which it allows McCarthy to respond to doubters while also physically illustrating the potential for his theories on peace and its study. These responses enable McCarthy to fluidly analyze many aspects of non-violence theory, while incorporating his witty humor and vast experiential knowledge. This format, combined with McCarthy's natural style, makes for an incredibly fascinating and engaging read.
Despite the strengths of McCarthy's book, I have difficulty naming it as one of the best pieces of literature I've ever read. Pondering this in disappointment, it seems that one of the books strengths, its accessibility, may also double as its greatest weakness. Mr. McCarthy speaks directly and honestly. These qualities give the book a unique flavor that make its read feel as though you are sitting next to the author as he shares the narrative aloud. The ideas presented are heavy, yet tangible and real. Mr. McCarthy steers clear of literary devices typical to the humanities, symbolism, metaphor, and other thematic elements. As a result, I have difficulty taking Mr. McCarthy's book for anything more than surface value. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as it remains a very powerful read. But regardless, this style seems to take away from the imaginative and interpretive qualities found in some of literature classics, from Shakespeare to Twain.
Nonetheless, Mr. McCarthy's book most certainly leaves the reader wanting more. While it may not provoke second and third readings in search of deeper analyses, it remains a very discussable book. What McCarthy's book lacks in interpretive substance, it more than makes up for with the inspiration it leaves the reader. After a strong initial impact, the book does not conclude without creating a legacy for itself within the reader.
It is difficult to objectively analyze this legacy because it is likely different for every reader. However, there are several points that seem to build the foundation for the book as an eternal guardian in the conscience of the reader. McCarthy presents many of these ideas in his chapter titled "Ideas to Practice, Not to Mull", long before the Epilogue. One of McCarthy's most poignant passages is his response to a student's speculation about the use of non-violent strategies against Hitler. "Sound bites don't do it. I feel like a math teacher who chalks the blackboard with calculus equations and then a student - who has never taken a math course before and has been told all his life that 2+2=423 - rises to say that nothing on the board makes sense. But make it clear with a quickie answer. Right now." (McCarthy, 82) This is impossible of course. Yet, this scenario seems to drive the objective of McCarthy's book.
He works throughout his memoir to nullify the notion that, "2+2=423," and slowly prove to the reader that it, in fact, equals four. Not in a demeaning or patronizing way, but in the methodical way any teacher would help a student who didn't understand a concept from class. The legacy of the book lies in McCarthy's revelations and the tools he gives the reader for further questioning and understanding. So sure, McCarthy's book isn't Tolstoy, Gandhi, or Merton. But, it's a start. And change must start somewhere.
An excellent pick for educators seeking insights on teaching peace within the education curriculum Aug 12, 2008
When Washington Post columnist Colman McCarthy was invited to teach a course on writing at an impoverished public school in Washington DC, he responded that he'd 'rather teach peace' - and thus he began a new career, teaching courses on nonviolence and conflict management to a range of schools. "I'd Rather Teach Peace" details one semester in six of these schools, and is an excellent pick for educators seeking insights on teaching peace within the education curriculum.
healing - Mar 11, 2007
McCarthy's book is inspirational. I'm working on a manuscript on peace and writing, and sometimes the realities of the world raise serious doubts. When it becomes hard to believe in the possibility of peace, I open this book.
Teach our youth of a more practical solution: Peace Dec 29, 2006
Very heart-felt, and gets to the core of many issues affecting us as a nation, and really does make you wonder "Why don't they teach Peace in school?".