History of the American Peace Movement 1890-2000

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Winner of the Choice Outstanding Academic Title
This work is a scholarly analysis of the evolution of the modern American peace movement. It contains the writings of some of the foremost scholars in the field. Among the contributors are the late Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, Merle Curti, as well as prize-winners Charles Chatfield and Lawrence S. Wittner. This volume is arranged chronologically, and offers fresh perspectives on how the peace movement shed its pre-World War I elitism while, at the same time, transforming itself from one of opposing war to one of proclaiming the need for social, political, and economic justice. The tragedies of World War I represent a major turning point in the movement's history. The essays selected detail the changes which took place within the movement to the advent of the 21st century. Included in this anthology are scholarly discussions about the influence of liberal pacifism, the evolution from nonviolent passive nonresistance to direct action, and efforts to build a safe world through crusades against racism, gender inequality, and environmental awareness. The work also contains an historiographical essay by the editor detailing the large body of literature that now exists on peace history in American society. The purpose of this work is to highlight how the study of peace history has captured the attention of those studying various aspects of American military, diplomatic, and social history. Indeed, peace movement activism in the last half of the twentieth century may very well represent the greatest social movement of our times.


“This is a fine book about what historians do which helps readers to explore the question, 'What did historians do when they opened up and established a new field of history?' This combination is what makes the book so worthwhile. It is what made peace history so exciting for a number of historians in the past nearly half century … Here, in this book is access to what that coterie of historians did. The book's structure helps. It begins with Howlett's brief introduction to the U.S. peace movement itself. It concludes with his extended essay on the field of peace history as it has evolved in the United States. In between the editor has placed a judicious selection of essays on several facets of the historic movement, arranged chronologically. The same quality and range of writings could have been achieved with a different section, but Howlett's choices are representative and significant studies. The result is a guided tour of the American peace movement that is also a sample of how various historians have dealt with it. If historical writing is to be appreciated, it must be read and not only read about. In order to understand what any historians did, the reader must ask what they were trying to do. What values engaged them? What problems did they address? … It is all here in this rich collection—everything a reader needs to survey the American peace movement and to explore what a representative group of historians did in collaboration with others to create the field now recognized as peace history.” – (from the Foreword) Charles Chatfield, H. Orth Hirt Professor of History Emeritus, Wittenberg University

“This highly readable and compelling collection of essays will appeal to scholars and non-scholars alike. Each essay not only reflects the history of a particular era but also the new interpretations each author brings to his or her subject. Each one offers a critical analysis of the movement as well as an absorbing narrative of thought and action. Yet, these essays weave together as a whole, and the reader will see how each historian builds upon the knowledge presented by the others. Because Charles Howlett understands the dynamic that peace history, like peace activism, is both an individual and a shared experience, his book is a reflection of the workings of the field itself." – Harriet Hyman Alonso, Professor of History, The City College and Graduate Center of the City university of New York

“Charles F. Howlett has brought together in one place perceptive and penetrating essays on the American Peace Movement by such luminaries in this field as Charles Chatfield, Charles De Benedetti, Lawerence S. Wittner, James Tracy, Harriet Hyman Alonso, and Barbara Espstein. …As I read these insightful essays, one cannot help but be struck by the irony relating to the great amount of time and effort expended by pacifists warring on each other. But given the varied ethnic, religious, ideological, social and political backgrounds and persuasions of the workers for peace, contentiousness is only to be expected when you're seriously dealing with such a momentous question, the issue of peace and war.…I commend Dr. Howlett for his important contribution to the literature of the American Peace Crusade.…this book should be "given a chance" to end up on the must read list of both scholars and general readers who want to enlighten themselves about the ever relevant and timely question of peace and war in American history. The Mellen Press is indeed lucky to have such a superb addition to its publishing list.” – Dr. Kevin M. Shanley, Department of History, University at Albany

Table of Contents

Foreword by Charles Chatfield
1. Retrospect
2. An Interpretation of the American Peace Movement, 1898-1914
3. World War I and the Liberal pacifist in the United States
4. The making of the modern Peace Movement
5. The Peace Movement in the Thirties
6. Direct Action, 1957-1963
7. From Civil Rights to the Second Wave of the Feminist Movement, 1960-1975
8. The Clamshell Alliance: Consensus and Utopian Democracy
Selected Readings

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