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From Dictatorship to Democracy [Kindle Edition]

Gene Sharp
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

From Dictatorship to Democracy was a pamphlet, printed and distributed by Dr Gene Sharp and based on his study, over a period of forty years, on non-violent methods of demonstration. Now in its fourth edition, it was originally handed out by the Albert Einstein Institution, and although never actively promoted, to date it has been translated into thirty-one languages. This astonishing book travelled as a photocopied pamphlet from Burma to Indonesia, Serbia and most recently Egypt, Tunisia and Syria, with dissent in China also reported.

Surreptitiously handed out amongst youth uprisings the world over - how the 'how-to' guide came about and its role in the recent Arab uprisings is an extraordinary tale. Once read you'll find yourself urging others to read it and indeed want to gift it.

Product Description


'Gene Sharp hardly expected to be mentioned in the same sentence as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King' --BBC News

'Aimed at no particular country ... found universal appeal among opposition activists around the globe' --Wall Street Journal

'Now translated into thirty-one languages ... Sharp's book is being read in countries from Vietnam to Venezuela' --Sunday Times

'Gene Sharp's contribution to the struggle for non-violent protest and civil disobedience in the Arab world has been immense.' --Raja Shehadeh

'Sharp has emerged as one of the world's most influential promoters of non-violent resistance to repressive regimes.' --Sunday Times

'Generally considered the father of the whole field of the study of strategic nonviolent action' --Stephen Zunes, University of San Francisco

'a must read for all those interested in human rights and democracy' --Independent on Sunday


"'Gene Sharp has written a book that must be read. It is scholarly, readable and highly relevant at a time when so many people are challenging the dictatorships under which they live. With his long historical understanding he offers really useful advice to people who are engaged on the same task today' (Tony Benn)"

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1385 KB
  • Print Length: 164 pages
  • Publisher: Serpent's Tail (7 July 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005CHQNC0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #157,029 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book brings down governments 22 Mar. 2011
By Peter Wade VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition
This book brings down governments

I remember that Woody Guthrie had written on his guitar "This machine kills fascists" Perhaps this book should have the sign This brook brings down dictators.

I have to confess that I was completely ignorant of this book/booklet until I read a couple of articles about it in the press. I am surprised that I had not come across it before as I am an avid reader of books on insurgency and counter insurgency..
This is of course not a military book so that is maybe why I missed it even though it has been around since 1993.

The articles claimed that his works which were originally written for the Burmese has been copied and read by other groups around the world. As a result he is touted as being the person who created the wherewithal for the various freedom groups to take on the dictatorships in the Middle East and North Africa. As a result just this year Tunisia has fallen to a fairly peaceful revolutiion Egypt happened quickly and had a few casualties and as I write the coalition is attacking Gaddaffi in Libya.
There are rumblings in Yemen , Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. If what they say it true this is a very powerful book indeed. The Iranian government has denounced him as a CIA agent. I would like to write something half as powerful . It is interesting that these dictatorships seems to be more afraid of words rather than military power.

The book is 93 pages long and the first 78 pages is a discussion of his theories, The most important is his theory that violence doesn't work.

In a way he is right as you cannot take on the dictatorship upon their own terms. They have military force and that is a way they maintain their power.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Dan
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In this short book, Gene Sharp compiles what is obviously a lifetime's worth of work into a workable and accessible text. It isn't, as has been touted, a guide to dismantling dictatorships; in fact, it often reads quite coldly, which is common for texts of political science. But what it does do is offer a range of tried and tested methods of straining the legitimacy of a regime; indeed, there is no reason it can't be used to dismantle democracies.

However, what I think it fails to do is elucidate the various obstacles in achieving the strategies: for example, achieving mass non-violent actions like sit-ins or walk-outs. But how does an activist in a brutal totalitarian state - say that of Nazi Germany - stimulate mass resistance? Nevertheless I still rate it 5-stars because I don't think Gene Sharp set out to answer that difficult question, which is the subject of many long and dusty books.

For anyone wishing to have an insight into the methods used by the recent revolts, or revolts throughout history; any student of politics; activist; or an official of a corrupt government wanting to know what challenges lie ahead of him, then this book is a brief but quite full option.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book truly can bring down dictatorships 11 April 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
When I came across this book and this fundamental non-violent strategy on current tv I was suddenly swept away by firstly the idea of one little book causing all this commotion and secondly that I really wanted to purchase it.

Firstly this book requires little knowledge of terminology as the author gene sharp explains each little term, strategy and tactic thoroughly with examples given, so you need not worry about thinking it is an really complex guidebook for disintegrating injustice.

Secondly I will not mention much about the content of the book much as I would be ruining the readers fun for them, however do keep this in mind, the tactics listed here are not purely for fighting big governments these tactics can be used in given situations against most forms of injustice, as evident within the civil rights movement and I personally use such tactics with university lecturers (but that's a rant fir a different time).

I leave you with this, this book is worth it if your willing to put in the work, it will change your outlook in life and how to approach certain situations, thus giving you knowledge. I was lucky enough to have contact and the Albert einstein institute of gene sharp and have my personal comments passed onto, that shows the impact of this book upon me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wise words 8 Sept. 2012
By pia
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Knowing this book has been used as a sort of guidelines to among other political take-overs such as The Arab Spring, I read this book with great interest. It can be read as a wise introduction to thinking differently of the consequences of non.violent dissent.I wish it were more widely spread as there still are some countries in the world which could use this powerful message to have their dictatorships overthrown.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Academic and easy to read 6 Dec. 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This sounds a lot like a book written by an expert who made it accessible to non-experts, the ideas are realistic and strategic, empirical, there is no speculation, just statements of ways that have worked and why. An entertaining read and rings a lot of bells thinking of the Arab spring, although he says to avoid violent conflict at all cost, it turns the movement into one where the dictator always has the advantage.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Interesting and mind engaging book.
Published 10 hours ago by Volodymyr
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT
This book is so so so brilliant - Only God knows why I hadn't read it earlier. Have even ordered copies for friends! An excellent book.
Published 8 months ago by Marricke Gane
3.0 out of 5 stars Good read; but not on holiday.
This book needs to be read when staving to understand how peace processes can be bought about but not if you are going way on holiday! It is interesting and full of hope.
Published 11 months ago by Ms. Joanna Ruth Penney
4.0 out of 5 stars What was needed
This was a purchase for a friend who had heard the title mentioned on a TV documentary. He was pleased with the purchase.
Published 15 months ago by Patsch
5.0 out of 5 stars Revolution consultants are the worst nightmare of every regime
Democratic change has been demanded across the Middle East. But was what seems like a spontaneous revolution actually a strategically planned event, fabricated by 'revolution... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Zak Totkoff
2.0 out of 5 stars Another!
Like In Mistrust we trust, it was extremely hard to 'get in to', so I couldn't recommen it to anyone. (Except perhaps an insomniac, tired of sheep..)
Published 19 months ago by stephen barraclough
3.0 out of 5 stars much hyped and poorly typed
Reads like a painful powerpoint meeting at work. This is not helped by the size of the book which means every se-
ntence is cut off before its com-
pletion, thus... Read more
Published 19 months ago by barry
5.0 out of 5 stars Only read this if you REALLY want to know what's going on in the...
This isn't for the faint-hearted or dilletante history students. This is for mature-minded individuals capable of actualy thinking for themselves. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Steve Greenmantle
5.0 out of 5 stars Clever,anyone should read it.
Clever author,well done, easy reading, light,very understandable, useful, thoughts provoking,explains among other things,very well how to peacefully make your point and carry out a... Read more
Published on 3 Aug. 2012 by M. Locci
5.0 out of 5 stars Revolutionary Bible
I picked this up on the strength of a recommendation from another book, the title of which currently escapes me. Read more
Published on 12 July 2012 by Richard W. Girdwood
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