A history of alternative dispute resolution: the story of a political, cultural, and social movement

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Although the use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) has increased dramatically in the past forty years, various forms of conflict resolution have been used successfully for centuries by people around the globe-from ancient Greeks to the Kalahari Bushmen.

A History of Alternative Dispute Resolution offers a comprehensive review of the various types of peaceful practices for resolving conflicts. Written by Jerome Barrett-a longtime practitioner, innovator, and leading historian in the field of ADR-and his son Joseph Barrett of the Wall Street Journal, this volume traces the evolution of the ADR process and offers an overview of the precursors to ADR, including negotiation, arbitration, and mediation. The authors explore the colorful beginnings of ADR using illustrative examples from prehistoric Shaman through the European Law Merchant. In addition, the book offers the historical context for the use of ADR in the arenas of diplomacy and business.

While exploring dispute resolution in other cultures, the book also offers an insightful examination of ADR in the United States. The authors discuss ADR in the context of America's Civil War and clearly illustrate both the limits and the promise of ADR. The book discusses the early struggles among the railroad workers and coal miners that first opened the possibility of ADR use and the passage of the Railroad Labor Act and the National Labor Relations Act, which guaranteed the rights of workers and provided for conflict resolution processes. It also explores the expansion of ADR to other disputes, including the civil rights movement and the cultural revolution of the 1960s, and on to the flowering of ADR in the past two decades in our communities, businesses, schools, and government agencies.

A History of Alternative Dispute Resolution clearly demonstrates that ADR has been successful in the past and can be our hope for the future.

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Pulling ADR into
TaftHartley to the Steel Trilogy

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About the author (2004)

Jerome T. Barrett–historian, writer, arbitrator, trainer, and mediator–writes a history column for ACResolution quarterly magazine and has served as historian of SPIDR and FMCS.

Joseph P. Barrett is a senior special writer for Page One at the Wall Street Journal.

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