The Palace of Crystal: A world without war
Harry Davis. Arena Books. 248 pages. £20.99 ISBN
Book review by Noel Hamel
Harry Davis, editor of Kingston Peace News, has been mulling over
what precipitates unwilling populations into war when it is clear that an
overwhelming majority of us want to get on with our lives peacefully.
Looking at historical example first, whereby it was thought brave,
heroic, even virtuous to fight for territory, wealth conquest and honour, he
moves on to modern examples in the context of much more complicated views about
justice, fairness, and ethical behaviour.
We still seem mesmerised by leaders, heroes even, in whom we
instinctively place our trust. Many who
have ascended the ladder of leadership have proved to be flawed personalities,
yet our ‘democratic’ systems
have time and again been found wanting when the flaws mutate into
violence, repression, slaughter and war.
Dostoevsky invented the concept of a ‘Palace of Crystal’, a
world in which people could live in peace, harmony, and respect without the
clouds of aggression, violence and war hanging over us. Harry’s sights are set on the ideals of the New World, North America, where reality
has fallen very far short. His idea is
that we should work towards achieving those ideals and he makes suggestions for
improving democratic structures so they may truly become ‘government of the
people by the people’
- not toys in the hands of individuals who want to manipulate
situations and pursue their own agendas; often seeming to view with arrogant
disdain, and in some cases as disposable commodities in their grand plan, those
that they are supposedly in power to cherish and care for.
[Harry Davis adds: KPN readers are about the last
persons in this world who need a book on how to abolish war. The author has some copies which can be
obtained direct from him, email firstname.lastname@example.org,
or by writing to 49 Speer Road, Thames Ditton, KT7
0PJ, for £5.00, plus £1 post and packaging, for those sufficiently curious to
see what he has made of this greatest of problems.]