Peter Furtado edited the monthly magazine History Today from 1998 to 2008 and in 2009 Oxford Brookes University awarded him an honorary doctorate. In this short but illuminating portrait of historical and contemporary Quakerism, he notes that Quakers have been at the forefront of campaigns for peace and social justice around the world. They led the way in the fight against slavery on three continents and have spoken out against poverty and the outrageous gap between the haves and the have-nots.

The Religious Society of Friends was founded by George Fox, a shoemaker who proclaimed that every man, woman, and child could have a direct experience of "God within." They number 100,000 in the U.S. and 20,000 in the U.K. and exhibit a diversity of belief and practice. Furtado describes their use of silence in "Meetings for Worship," and their use of Advices and Queries (aphorisms and questions) and the Book of Discipline containing inspirational quotations from Quakers.

Contemporary Quakers are able to express their faith freely but this was not always so. Many were subject to persecution, imprisonment, and even death in England and later in America. This hatred against those who walked a different path is very sad indeed. It was reinforced by the counter-cultural views of Quakers expressed in their fights for human rights on many fronts. In 1947, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the American Friends Service Committee.

Reading this account of Quaker activism, we realized that no other religious community has worked so hard, so long, and on so many social issues.