Healing the Heart of Conflict
Marc Gopin, the James H. Laue Professor of World Religions, Diplomacy, and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University’s Institute of Conflict Analysis and Resolution, brings his considerable experience in international peacemaking to bear in Healing the Heart of Conflict: 8 Crucial Steps to Making Peace With Yourself and Others. He provides an eight-step plan designed to help readers resolve conflict in their own lives. Although academic publisher Oxford University Press published Gopin’s previous two books, Between Eden and Armageddon (2000) and Holy War, Holy Peace (2002), readers need not be concerned with academic diction, style, or footnotes in Healing the Heart of Conflict. The book is notable for simplicity of both vocabulary and ideas.
The first part of the book devotes one chapter to each of the eight steps: Be, Feel, Understand, Hear, See, Imagine, Do, and Speak. The second section comprises three chapters of application of the steps at work, at home, and in the community. Gopin generously illustrates his points through anecdotes from his own experiences in the Middle East and as a rabbi. Some readers, however, may find Gopin’s steps neither radical nor new. For example, in the chapter called "Hear: The Art of Listening," he instructs readers to listen carefully to those with whom they have conflict, and in "See: The Art of Observation," he tells readers to "skillfully observe" those around them. While the steps are simple, nevertheless, the implementation is effective, according to Gopin. Peacemaking and conflict resolution are surely two of the most important tasks of the twenty-first century; Healing the Heart of Conflict moves readers eight steps in the right direction.