Two Shining Souls

Two Shining Souls : Jane Addams, Leo Tolstoy, and the Quest for Global Peace

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In Two Shining Souls, Cracraft explores the decades-long encounter of Jane Addams (1860-1935), the famous American social reformer and peace activist, with Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910), the acclaimed Russian writer and sage. This hitherto untold story highlights the crisis in global pacifism precipitated by World War I. Never before had the quest for international peace seemed more promising; never since, in the wake of World War II, the Cold War, and the "War on Terror", has it seemed more impossible. Yet perhaps the story of these two shining souls has never needed to be told more.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 206 pages
  • 157.48 x 231.14 x 17.78mm | 408.23g
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations, figures
  • 0739174509
  • 9780739174500

Table of contents

Preface and Acknowledgments Figures Chapter 1. Discoveries Chapter 2. The Meeting Chapter 3. The Go-Between Chapter 4. Challenging War Chapter 5. The Crisis of Global Pacifism Chapter 6. The Aftermath Chapter 7. Legacies Bibliography Index
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Review quote

The stories of Tolstoy the idealist and Addams the pragmatist have been told before, but by bringing them together in a single narrative, James Cracraft casts new light on how America's pioneering settlement worker and peace activist drew inspiration from Russia's preeminent writer, and then blazed her own path to engage some of the modern world's most pressing problems: urban poverty and war. Told in lucid prose and framed by a broad understanding of intellectual trends and international politics, Two Shining Souls is compelling history. -- Timothy B. Spears, Middlebury College James Cracraft makes the character of Jane Addams both alive and interesting. The presentations of pacifism and related political movements against the violence of war are stirring and compelling-eloquently articulated. They are also welded nicely into the demonstrations of Addams' personality and experience. Two Shining Souls evinces contagious enthusiasm without blindness to the weaknesses of the characters in the story. -- Irwin A. Weil, Northwestern University Leo Tolstoy's interactions with American social thinkers are well known, but until James Cracraft's fine effort, no one has written a book on the subject. Two Shining Souls: Jane Addams, Leo Tolstoy, and the Quest for Global Peace spirals out from an 1896 meeting of Tolstoy and Jane Addams at Yasnaya Polyana to reconstruct the background of the meeting and its consequences. Although Cracraft is a Russian historian, he focuses more on Addams as a social reformer and pacifist. In both roles she was indebted to Tolstoy, but also disagreed with him. Tolstoy was a radical Russian theorist while Addams was a social activist influenced by the pragmatic philosophy of William James. Tolstoy inspired Addams with his clarity and moral courage, but she considered his unbending idealism impractical. Preaching non-resistance, Tolstoy resisted all compromise; Addams, by compromising, got things done. Cracraft places his main protagonists in a broad historical canvas that brings together figures usually considered only separately. In one of his most fascinating discoveries, for instance, he argues convincingly that Addams helped convert Tolstoy translator Aylmer Maude from intransigent Tolstoyan idealism to her more conciliatory and political approach to reform. -- Donna Tussing Orwin, University of Toronto In Two Shining Souls: Jane Addams, Leo Tolstoy, and the Quest for Global Peace, James Cracraft, Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Illinois, Chicago, uses a meeting between two international figures in 1896 as the organizing principle to address their comparative philosophies and histories...Skilfully crafted, Two Shining Souls brings the events surrounding the meeting alive - providing the right balance between sufficient detail to give the events texture and tangibility and offering the sweep of history to present context and meaning...I strongly reccommend [this] work...the most important contribution that Two Shining Souls makes is to return our attention to a public discourse of peace. Slavonic & East European Review
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About James Cracraft

James Cracraft is professor of history emeritus at the University of Illinois, Chicago.
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