Heart of Conflict

Brian Muldoon, Author
Brian Muldoon, Author Putnam Publishing Group $22.95 (257p) ISBN 978-0-399-14180-5
Mass Market Paperbound - 257 pages - 978-0-399-51895-9
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Mediation can be a singularly successful way of helping individuals in conflict who are paralyzed or driven by quarrels, suffering or hate. However, this book is not likely to convince anyone of that. Although Muldoon, a lawyer and the cofounder of a mediation firm, demonstrates that he knows his business in one convincing chapter entitled ""Mediation: Impasse and the Third Force,"" one chapter out of 10 is not enough to redeem a text characterized by inapt locutions, failed metaphors, a windy style and flaccid reasoning. Throughout the book the author drags in literary, scientific or philosophical references without a sense of logical concurrence. In one fairly typical paragraph, he cites chaos theory, the second law of thermodynamics, the Norse god Loki and the forces of darkness and light--all in four short sentences. Nor does Muldoon always make clear how mediation actually worked in the many lively anecdotes he relates. We are presented with the details of an intractable dispute, and suddenly there is harmony, as if a curtain had been hastily lowered and raised. It is unfortunate that this professional could not make a clearer case for so effective a procedure. (Sept.)
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