The Kingdom of God Is Within You

ISBN: 0486451380
ISBN 13: 9780486451381
By: Leo Tolstoy Constance Garnett

Check Price Now


Christianity Classics Currently Reading Favorites Non Fiction Philosophy Religion Russian Theology To Read

About this book

Banned in Russia, Tolstoy's The Kingdom of God Is Within You was deemed a threat to church and state. The culmination of a lifetime's thought, it espouses a commitment to Jesus's message of turning the other cheek. In a bold and original manner, Tolstoy shows his readers clearly why they must reject violence of any sort—even that sanctioned by the state or the church—and urges them to look within themselves to find the answers to questions of morality.In 1894, one of the first English translations of this book found its way into the hands of a young Gandhi. Inspired by its message of nonresistance to evil, the Mahatma declared it a source of "independent thinking, profound morality, and truthfulness." Much of this work's emotional and moral appeal lies in its emphasis on fair treatment of the poor and working class. Its view of Christianity, not as a mystic religion but as a workable philosophy originating from the words of a remarkable teacher, extends its appeal to secular and religious readers alike.

Reader's Thoughts

David Lentz

I have read two of Tolstoy's other masterpieces in "War and Peace" and "Anna Karenina." For all the brilliant prose in these two works of penultimate genius, to really understand the heart of the novelist writing about his society, these essays lend powerful insight. The essays begin as Tolstoy rides a train with soldiers sent to beat Russian peasants who have lodged a complaint against a rich landowner bent upon cutting down a forest, with which serfs had always enjoyed common rights, for the profit in the timber. After a judge's unjust verdict in favor of the landowner, after the serfs send packing the men who appeared to cut their timber, the landowner requests government troops to enforce the unjust verdict by beating the serfs to death with rods packed onboard the train. Tolstoy examines this great chain of injustice from the rich landowner's arrogance and greed, to the government judge's feeble acquiesence to power, to the soldiers' blind obedience to administer the famished serfs' inhumane punishment and asks why any of this must play out as it does. How often has this great chain of injustice perpetuated itself upon humanity? Does this chain not define and insitutionalize the greatest instances of inhumanity in the course of history? Tolstoy asks earnestly why each of the players in the administration of this injustice just doesn't try to make a true "moral effort." Why doesn't the rich landowner recognize his own arrogance and greed and duty to the serfs? Why doesn't the government intercede and stand up to the landowner's will to power? Why don't the soldiers refuse to administer mindlessly this injustice? Why must famished, diseased and half-dead peasants be beaten to death as they simply try to survive? Who wins in this oft repeated scenario? Not a dead soul. Tolstoy's argument is that we have the ethical wherewithal at every level to stand-up to such injustice and he makes the argument as a wealthy Russian landowner, former soldier and provincial adminsitrator with great influence upon the tsar. In other words he is fully qualified by virtue of experience to argue this case and he makes it with a profundity and simplicity which is inspiring. "There is one thing, and only one thing, in which it is granted to you to be free in life, all else being beyond your power: that is to recognize and profess the truth." Tolstoy's thesis is that the Power to do this exists within every person and that it is the divine responsibility of each of us to exercise this power for the good and happiness of humanity. Tolstoy sees a threefold relationship of man to truth: "Some truths have been so assimilated by them that they become the unconscious basis of action, others are just only on the point of being revealed and a third class, though not yet assimilated by him, have been revealed to him with sufficient clearness to force him to decide either to recognize them or refuse to recognize them." Tolstoy urges mankind simply to make a moral effort and he advises that the happiness open to mankind is available only if and when we do so. Why don't we make more of a moral effort? There is great wisdom in this work which I urge you, despite the daunting title, to read as it is wisdom from a century and a half ago, that no generation of humanity may need more than our own right now.


This is a great book to read before you go to sleep. I gave it three stars because it gave my brain a bit to think about, not because it is a well-written book by any stretch of the imagination. Tolstoy has a lot of great ideas, but this book is more of a collection of ramblings than a comprehensive work. Each chapter begins with a summary of its contents, which can be up to two pages on its own, and then proceeds to restate those ideas in even clumsier prose. Tolstoy's short stories were works of art, so I was disappointed that he seemed to put little effort into the writing of this book, seeking only to have his ideas heard.For those who see that the Christian Church has ceased to follow the most important teachings of Christ, this book can be good back-up. For those who believe that the Church is the be-all and end-all of Christian doctrine, I'd recommend you at least read parts of this book for a serious wake-up call.


What does a nation established in Christ’s principles look like?Does it wage war?Does it maintain a standing army?Does it manufacture nuclear weapons? Landmines? Assault rifles? Hand guns?Does it torture people?Waterboard people?Imprison people?Are there poor people in a Christian nation?Are there rich people in a Christian nation?Does a women die from hunger in a Christian nation?Does she die from preventable disease?Does anyone aspire to wealth in a Christian nation?Does anyone aspire to power?When you give these questions anything more than cursory thought, they’re troubling questions indeed. Leo Tolstoy (of War and Peace fame) found himself struggling with these questions at the end of the 19th century as the nations of Europe rattled sabers and amassed massive armies in the lead-up to the first world war. Germany, Russia, France, and England all considered themselves Christian nations, yet each rallied for war, ready to murder each other by the millions against the direct prohibition of their God.Today the governor of Texas organizes public prayer for rain while also supporting the death penalty. A presidential candidate accentuate the words “under God,” while swearing allegiance not to that God but to a nation. With a cross pinned to his lapel, a politician fights to cut funding for services to the sick and to the poor. In this midst of this, the hard analysis that Tolstoy puts forth about what it truly means to be a Christian nation is more important than ever.In imagining a Christian society, Tolstoy looks not to Deuteronomy or Leviticus whose strict legalism lends itself to the loophole-seeking of the Pharisees, but to the Sermon on the Mount. He looks to Jesus’s commandment to “love one another as I have loved you.” Rather than a legal code, Jesus commandments were appeals to the heart, statements that awoken men’s consciences to the suffering that they were causing one another so that they may truly repent of this injustice. This is the revelation of Truth, the opening of blind eyes.To live in this Truth is not just to speak it, but to have it guide every action. This is easy enough when dealing with our families and sometimes even our neighbors. We can forgive insults, respond to hatred with love, and exhibit great generosity with our loved ones. Yet, as we expand outwards to social action, Christ’s true challenge becomes apparent. Referring to the opening questions, do I feel that there is a difference between Christ’s response and the practical response?The great hypocrisy of war-mongering Christians deeply disturbed Tolstoy in his day, and it should likewise both every Christian of conscience today. Do we only follow Christ’s teaching in the small and convenient actions, the street-corner preaching and public acts of generosity that make us feel self-righteous, or do we follow it when it’s difficult?It is not difficult to wave a picture of an aborted fetus in front of a Planned Parenthood building. It is difficult to provided a pregnant mother with the social and financial support she needs to continue the pregnancy. Which do we do?It is not difficult for an American to preach an end to human rights abuses in Iran. It is difficult for an American to take a stand against torture carried out by our own government. Which do we do?It is not difficult to wear TOMS shoes and Falling Whistles necklaces. It is difficult to quit your job at the corporation that profits from the exploitation of the poor and vulnerable. Which do we do?Tolstoy’s thesis is that a veneer of Christianity does not make either a person or a nation Christian. It is the integration of Christ’s principles into every individual action in my life and the refusal to cooperate with anything that is counter to those principles.It’s a bold proposition, indeed. When Mohandas Gandhi read The Kingdom of God Is Within You while he was in South Africa, it helped inspire his first Satyagraha campaign against the abuses of the British. What revolution is in store for America is we too could take this message to heart?What happens when Christian consumers refuse to support businesses that exploit their workers, but support worker cooperatives instead?What happens when Christian juries refuses to condemn drug addicts to jail, but open drug treatment programs instead?What happens when Christian men and women refuse to join the military, but join interfaith groups to build bridges of understanding instead?These are the questions that Tolstoy asks and they’re deeply challenging for those who prefer a convenient Christianity that asks nothing of its followers except a Sunday lip service and a cross hung around the neck. Christ’s Truth was revolutionary and he was hung on a cross between two revolutionaries for it. What happens when Christians take up that revolutionary charge today?

G.d. Brennan

"The Kingdom of God is Within You" is at once flawed and necessary, a critical look at how human institutions have interpreted (or misinterpreted) the Gospel message.In it, Tolstoy focuses on what's perhaps Jesus' most often overlooked statement--the admonishment to offer no resistance to evil. It's an admirable task, to take a clear look at a statement that many pretend is blurry, to simplify a message that is complicated in spite of its clarity. And Tolstoy's passion and originality make for an unforgettable read, even as his sweeping generalizations make it easy to put down in frustration.He claims, for instance, that there are only three ways to view life--the animal, the pagan, and the divine. In the former, one is only looking for fulfillment of one's own desires; most societies recognize this as potentially harmful, and set out laws so as to corral the human animal. But, as Tolstoy puts it, this still leads to allegiance to "the tribe, the family, the clan, the nation," and that ultimately leads to conflict. The answer, as he sees it, is for human society to keep evolving towards the divine ideal set down in the Gospels, wherein one treats everyone well, regardless of (and even in spite of) their past behavior.In looking at the middle level--that of human society--Tolstoy latches on to something Chairman Mao would later express far more cynically: political power ultimately rests on force. Laws that aren't enforced are basically just suggestions, so no matter how noble-minded the government, or how good its intentions, it ultimately must either use or threaten violence--the very word "enforcement" acknowledges this. So, for instance, pacifists who are waiting for governments to renounce the use of war will be waiting forever. As Tolstoy points out, "One might as well suggest to merchants and bankers that they should sell nothing for a greater price than they gave for it, should undertake the distribution of wealth for no profit, and should abolish money, as it would thus be rendered unnecessary." For war is but the extreme end of an ill-defined spectrum of force that starts at a much lower level, that of police and criminals; no government will (or can) ever give that up, so once one acknowledges and buys into the implicit relationship between political power and force, the question of its upper limit is a matter of quibbling. As Tolstoy mentions, only the weaker nations will suggest with a straight face that international matters should always be subject to arbitration. The stronger countries have nothing to gain by limiting themselves, and no one to compel them to do so.Tolstoy uses Jesus' words amply. He points out that many believe that Jesus' teachings "can have no other significance than the one they attribute to it." But that only adds to the irony elsewhere, when he suggests that Jesus' words against resistance should be used as an excuse to stop paying taxes. Jesus was quite clearly of a different mindset, and said "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's" to those who asked whether it was lawful to pay taxes. The point's pretty simple, and it's one Tolstoy completely ignores: the government literally makes the money in the first place, so if the government wants part of their money back, that's their business.Elsewhere, too, Tolstoy's generalizations invite argument, not agreement. "We do know by prolonged experience that neither enemies nor criminals have been successfully suppressed by force," he says, obviously speaking without the benefit of World War II as a historical example, although one ends up surprised that he didn't make more reference to Napoleon's defeat, a topic which he obviously covered at far greater length elsewhere. A better argument, perhaps, would rely on the moral consequences to the victors, rather than the physical outcomes. (Perhaps the best illustration of this, oddly enough, was near the end of "Return of the Jedi," where Luke finds himself transformed by the mere act of resisting the Emperor.) It's hard to claim that resistance is wrong because it doesn't work; there are those who will always argue that it does. The bigger issue, perhaps, is that it makes you similar to what you're resisting.Tolstoy's long-winded. He departs from the Gospel message in at least one key regard. He relies on evidence for some assertions but also makes plenty of unsupported allegations and blanket generalizations. (Some of these do seem oddly timeless and apropos of our current age, as for instance when he says that scientists see Christianity "as a religion which has outlived its age" and that "[t]he significance of the Gospel is hidden from believers by the Church, from unbelievers by Science.") Yet the many areas where he amplifies Jesus' teachings make for a thought-provoking read that also might cause some soul searching, whatever one's religious or political persuasion.

Tom McKone

Tolstoy is my favorite writer. 'The Kingdom of God Is Within You' is a book that heavily influenced Gandhi in his epic battle for justice and compassion within and, then, against the British Empire. It is not what you might think though. It is heavily censorious of prevailing assumptions in Christianity as they were practiced in the 18th century. Tolstoy is a radical and allows Christians no wriggle room. You are either a believer and follow the spirit and teachings of Jesus or you are not. It is only in living by the teachings that one becomes a Christian. He gives very little attention to any Christologies. What one may believe about the afterlife has very little sway here. His main criticism of religion is that it might actually serve as an obfuscation and hinder one in ascertaining the real message and value of Jesus' teachings. Religion might prevent Jesus from coming into one's life. Christ is what most people want; a simple affirmation. But, to Tolstoy, belief requires more. Hence, a point of view: no Jesus, no Christ.


I have considered this since I read it probably 6 years ago to be my favorite book, or at least the book that has challenged me the most. It's as powerful of a testament to Christian nonviolence as I imagine has ever been written. Probably it's most well-known claim to fame is that Gandhi cites it as the book that influenced him most in his life, even though he was a devout Hindu.

La pointe de la sauce

"Ye have heard, it was said of old, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. But I say unto you Resist not evil. But if one smites thee on the right cheek, turn him the other also; and if one will go to law with thee to take thy coat from thee, give him thy cloak also." I have always said that Jesus Christ is one of the greatest humanists there has ever been and the starting point of many revolutionary ideas. Here Tolstoy attempts to disassociate Christ's teachings from the church and Christianity. I'll let the man speak for himself:'The conventional positions, established hundreds of years, recognized for centuries and by everyone, distinguished by special names and dresses, and, moreover, confirmed by every kind of solemnity, have so penetrated into men's minds through their senses, that, forgetting the ordinary conditions of life common to all, they look at themselves and everyone only from this conventional point of view, and are guided in their estimation of their own actions and those of others by this conventional standard.It is principally through this false idea of inequality, and the intoxication of power and of servility resulting from it, that men associated in a state organization are enabled to commit acts opposed to their conscience without the least scruple or remorse. Under the influence of this intoxication, men imagine themselves no longer  simply men as they are, but some special beings— noblemen, merchants, governors, judges, officers, tzars, ministers, or soldiers—no longer bound by ordinary human duties, but by other duties far more weighty—the peculiar duties of a nobleman, merchant, governor, judge, officer, tzar, minister, or soldier.'It's worth mentioning that it's this same book that inspired Ghandi to pursue non-violent protest which led to India's independence, this further inspired the civil rights movement in the U.S with off-shoots all across the world and all because Tolstoy, despite the strangeness of the concept of 'turning the other cheek', firmly believes that it is the only way to emancipate man and return the reign of truth on earth. He is vindicated in every respect. I expected this book to be preachy but its actually a brutal attack on the Roman Catholic Church, the Russian Orthodox Church, the state, the Czar and indeed all institutions that feign acceptance of Jesus' teachings whilst engaging creative ways of sanctioning war or robbing the poor. In his commentary he sites other thinkers who have reached the same conclusion about Christianity one of which I thought was strikingly concise:'War, too, is a Christian duty. Is it not a Christian duty to kill hundreds of thousands of one's fellow-men, to outrage women, to raze and burn towns, and to practice every possible cruelty? It is time to dismiss all these false sentimentalities. It is the truest means of forgiving injuries and loving enemies. If we only do it in the spirit of love, nothing can be more Christian than such murder. - Adin Ballou, It has always struck me as strange that under the guidance of the religion, the state or certain institutions, people of upright character have been somehow deceived into committing the most heinous crimes. Like in the Milgram Experiment where people keep pushing that button because their ability to reason has somehow been transferred to a 'higher authority.' Im always disgusted by UK Judge's who give 7 years imprisonment to pedophiles who have managed to rape their victims because it's written in some book that that is the right response. And on another level bankers take huge bonuses because it's somehow their right and just recently the government increasing student fees three fold and cutting NHS services to deal with the deficit and in the same week advancing millions to save UK Banks in Ireland. I digress but you get the point. 


Recommended by a friend. Just started it today.I can't make up my mind whether I am in love with or outraged by Tolstoy's emphatically constructed case for pacifism. It makes me want to strangle the man.UPDATE:I skimmed over a lot of Tolstoy's polemics. I enjoyed his critiques of Christianity more than his case for pacifism. My caveat is personal: I prefer a more nuanced argument.If you don't mind the polemic style, Tolstoy actually lays out a good case for pacifism especially based upon a Christian morality.


Things your ordinary citizen thinks when he hears "Leo Tolstoy":-Some damn commie Russian-Yeah, I think I heard some of them literary people mention him. Whatever. Speaking of literature, I need to go buy new Dan Brown.-That dude who wrote that long-ass book about war or something no one ever really finished. LBR, they all use Cliffnotes for book reports.-The one who wrote that famous tragic forbidden love story between a married woman and a hot officer. I've seen the movie(s) (KK is my homegurl!), but then I opened the book and it was full of some guy talking about peasants and shit. It was a bore. The movie was much better.-A very important Russian writer. I've tried reading some of his work, but it's not for me. Things I wish more people would know about Leo Tolstoy:-He was an anarchist-He might have been Christian, but he was not a fan of the way Church has been interpreting the religion. Thus, this book was born.-One day, a young lawyer named Mohandas Gandhi read this book.Onto the Part 2(FLAG AWAY!)

mic boshans

Never mind the cover. This book is amazing! One of the most important books I've ever read...Read the description; I think it's pretty right on. If you've ever called yourself a Christian, this is a must read. If you think Christians are misguided or even dangerous, you should read this book. If you like certain aspects of Christianity but think that organized religion is a crock, you should read this book. If you think war is a necessary evil, read this book. If you think Gandhi was on to something, you should read this book. If you consider yourself an anarchist, you should read this book. If you think anarchists are ridiculous, you should read this book. If you haven't read this book, you should read this book.

Gary Patton

Tolstoy's is another book most Christians will NOT want to read and, if they start, will quickly put down.They will because one of the greatest Jesus-Following writers of all times quickly proves that Jesus means what He says when our King commands clearly and unambiguously in Matthew 5:38: "Do not resist evil" ...with violence of any kind to save your life or that of another.Most North American Pastors teach most Christians a convoluted message involving the unBiblical "Just War Doctrine" and, therefore, justified violence.The demonic denial protecting both those messages is incredibly powerful. I know because I used to be trapped by both the "just war", and "just violence" doctrines taught by most traditional and evangelical churches.Only Holy Spirit can give those who are willing "the eyes to see and the ears to hear"!Enjoy and be blessed ...if you will!GaryFPatton(2013-10-03)


Tolstoy calls on all people to live by the Law of Jesus, primarily set forth in the Sermon on the Mount. For Tolstoy, living like this is what it means to be a Christian. Early on he makes it clear he has no love for the rest of the New Testament outside the Gospels. He finds the whole idea of sin and salvation by grace as really part of the problem. Thus, his view of being a Christian is quite different than the traditional view as he simply says - live like Jesus. Of course, this begs the question - why should I live like Jesus? He was executed as a criminal and in the very same text where we find the Sermon on the Mount, we find him saying all kinds of crazy things. It makes me think of Lewis' famous argument that Jesus is either lunatic, liar or lord. Tolstoy takes Jesus as a teacher, arguing that we follow Jesus because he taught truth. But how do we separate the truth of what he taught, which Tolstoy likes, from the error?That said, Tolstoy's work is extremely challenging. Too many Christians explain away some of Jesus' more challenging statements. Tolstoy will have none of this. For Tolstoy, when Jesus says love your enemies or forgive those who persecute you, he meant it. At one point Tolstoy asks why Christians have no problem literally accepting other parts of the sermon on the mount (such as the call to not look at a woman lustfully) but then explain away the nonviolent parts.His critique of the church for its near unquestioning support of the state at times made me forget he was writing in 1890s Russia and not 2000s America. So Tolstoy is challenging in this book. The problem is, other writers are equally challenging without sacrificing the rest of the Christian tradition. You can find people who put forth this radical ethic of following Jesus along with orthodox theology from the church fathers on to people like John Howard Yoder. Finally, Tolstoy seems way too optimistic about human nature than he should be. In the 200s AD Origen wrote Against Celsus, replying to the criticisms of one of the great Roman writers. Celsus said that if everybody became like Christians, laying aside the sword, no one would be left to defend the empire. Tolstoy, like Origen, provides an answer to this question. For Tolstoy, if everyone became lived like Jesus the world would be at peace. Further, Tolstoy believes this will inevitably happen, he has a sort of postmillenial vibe at points, with the idea the world will get better and better. But does the reality of human sin and depravity allow such optimism? Tolstoy wrote at the end of the 19th century, leading into the bloodiest century humanity has known. The reality of human corruption makes it clear to me that we cannot hope everyone will simply live like Jesus.Now, traditional Christianity, with trust in the indwelling and work of the Holy Spirit, can hope for these future things. But it is a bit more complex then humans simply living it; we need help.Overall, I recommend this book as a classic of Christian ethics, despite the many shortcomings I see. I look at it this way: most Christians have no problem lifting up Calvin as a model of Christian orthodoxy despite his ethical failings (such as his role in the execution of Servetus) so why can't we lift up a Christian ethic despite its other theological failings?


Tolstoy's radical take on Christianity may not sound so radical at first: he insists on a rigid adherence to the specific verbal instructions of Jesus as described in the Gospels. The sermon on the mount, in particular, is afforded special emphasis as a sort of new set of commandments. This is, notably, the sermon in which Jesus instructs us to turn the other cheek and be forgiving and loving of one another. These teachings, he writes, constitute the body of Christianity- they define what it means to be a follower of Christ.For Tolstoy, this naturally raises questions on the social & political levels. If we are to love one another universally, how can we reconcile this with state obligations that would have us go to war? What are we to do about the imprisoning, torture and killing of evildoers? Is it truly a Christian society that relies on the widespread exploitation and deprivation of lower classes? Jesus's vision is a radical one that aims to unite all peoples in love as equals- so how close are we to this, after two millennia of rule of so-called "christian nations?"Tolstoy sees an inherent contradiction between Christ's teachings and the function of the state as a largely repressive, violent institution. His doctrine also calls into question the focus on superstition and supernatural dogma of the established churches. Nothing like the church, he argues, appears in Jesus's direct teachings, with all its earthly powers and authority.Living at the turn of the 20th century in Russia, Tolstoy saw the writing on the walls: he repeatedly calls for reason and unity in the face of the mad building-up of war machines that lead toward inevitable massacre. He foresaw at least World War One, and makes other prescient remarks essentially about mutually assured destruction. This is the real focus of his work, to ask why as a species we seem hellbent on self-destruction and why we all willingly work together to enact the hateful, mad schemes of our imposed rulers, to the deprivation of ourselves and our neighbors. The way out of this blood-soaked labyrinth is his "Christian conception of life."The heart of his theory concerns human motivation. He outlines a rough sort of history / anthropology moving between the pagan conception of life, through to the state conception and then to the Christian. Importantly, he identifies a link between our spiritual / metaphysical beliefs, and our behavior as a whole.Rational self-interest, the latest holy cow of enshrined state philosophy, is in Tolstoy's argument both the mode of the state conception of life ("I will do what's best for me and my family") and the critical link in the chains that keep us fettered to mass suffering. As long as we look out for number one, we can never mount a meaningful resistance to this maltreatment, for to step out of line as a solitary soul risks much while accomplishing little (for the self, that is.) Directing all of us to focus on ourselves rather than our collective interest is the ultimate "divide and conquer" that drives a wedge between everyone.Tolstoy's "Christian conception of life", by contrast, places adherence to a Godly ideal above all else: the love of every fellow human. Now if this is our deepest motive, above all petty self-interest, we should have no problem suffering and even dying in order to serve this higher spiritual vision of human potential. Tolstoy means total radical non-compliance with the state, especially forced conscription, while maintaining nonviolence and accepting the punishments that the rulers of this earthly realm may dish out. Sounds an awful lot like the early Christians who were persecuted by the Romans- even Jesus himself, killed for challenging the authorities of his time.I believe that Tolstoy is onto something very important here. Rational self-interest has been studied extensively in game theory and economics. It can be mathematically (and experimentally) shown in the "prisoner's dilemma" that it doesn't always lead to the best possible outcome- and in fact causes us to figuratively shoot ourselves in the foot. Hofstadter's notion of "hyperrationality" was one attempt to get out of this self-imposed trap; I think Tolstoy is dealing with exactly the same questions.Altogether, this was a very interesting and powerful polemic, and I was extremely excited to finally find an author who seems to take the same understanding of Christianity as I have. Tolstoy lacks economic theory, and as a result seems to see wars as a result of the petty vanities and disagreements between our rules. Perhaps true in his time, but I am inclined to think war has always been an economic device. Nevertheless, he was a remarkably visionary author and reads as a voice of sanity crying out in the wilderness, as his era slipped inexorably toward the yawning pit of global catastrophe.

Acton J Northrop

Tremendously lucid work by the great novelist on Christian Anarchism. Does not shy away from addressing the pragmatic difficulties posed by a fully realized pacifist, anti-authoritarian society nor does it let mankind off the hook to ignore its obligation to move toward this telos. Garnett's translations of the great Russian writers continue to be the standard nearly a century later.


Mhatma Ghandi said of this book, "Tolstoy's The Kingdom of God is Within You overwhelmed me. It left an abiding impression on me. Before the independent thinking, profound morality and the truthfulness of this book, all the books given me...seemed to pale into insignificance." This was lovingly written in the cover of the book when I picked it out of pile of books destined for recycling, where the hard covers would be ripped off and the pages put through the recycling bin. I could not toss this book. My brother (a professor of English studies) pointed out to me the geneology of its publication, how ever year of its reissuing was during a massive era of change (World War II and the civil rights movement.). I do love this book. I am a slow reader. It will be a slow arduous journey through this book, but I am certain it will be worth it.

Share your thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *