University of Agder
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This book presents four cases where individuals with no official position – 'private peace entrepreneurs' (PPEs) – were engaged in conflict resolution processes. The author develops a theoretical framework to discuss each case and also to reach more general conclusions concerning the possible influence of PPEs and their degree of success. The cases are well chosen: Norman Cousins and the negotiations on a Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in 1962–63; Suzanne Massie and US–Soviet relations in the Reagan era, 1983–88; Brendan Duddy and the negotiations between British authorities and the Provisional IRA in Northern Ireland, 1973–93; and Uri Avnery's dialogue with the PLO, 1975–85. They are highly interesting, based on extensive archival research and different actors' writings, as well as relevant secondary literature, all thoroughly referenced. The chapters on each case may be very useful to students from different academic disciplines working on any of the conflicts concerned. The book distinguishes quite sharply between the historical narratives and the theoretical analyses. To this reader, an international or peace historian, that design is a little disturbing. This adds to a certain scepticism caused by the book's introduction, which is too focused on constructing a narrow definition of a PPE in the conceptual landscape of diplomatic studies. However, in the first main chapter, the author presents his theoretical framework, which is rich in terms of perspectives and shows how 'peace entrepreneurship' must be studied in historical context. That chapter – and the book as a whole – should be a source of inspiration to scholars and students in the process of formulating their own research questions. It should be added that the book is a good read.