“History repeats itself, and Polner and Woods remind us that both Leftist dissent against jingoism and Rightist opposition to governments swollen by war run throughout American history.”
“Representing both sides of the ideological divide, editors Polner and Woods have collected a vast and varied array of speeches, essays, letters, poetry, even popular song lyrics, from our country?s greatest leaders and civilians to illustrate the indelible and instinctive response war-mongering and war evoke.... With current antiwar rhetoric...running at a fevered pitch, such historical documentation demonstrates, sadly, that it is also running true to course.”
Scott McConnell, editor of The American Conservative
“You don?t have to oppose all American wars to appreciate Tom Woods and Murray Polner?s masterful anthology. These essays vividly demonstrate why 'dissent is patriotic? is no mere peacenik slogan.”
Bob Keeler, Newsday Editorial Board
“Standing up to the rhetoric of war is never easy. We Who Dared to Say No to War provides today?s private-citizen peacemakers and public officials with the valuable assurance that others have spoken prophetically against wars for most of our nation?s history. Polner and Woods deserve our deep gratitude for assembling these brave speeches from wars past.”
“Turns out strange bedfellows are common in the history of American anti-war sentiment, as evidenced in the new anthology We Who Dared to Say No To War.... Together [Polner and Woods have] assembled almost two centuries? worth of writing condemning American military actions from the War of 1812 to more recent misadventures in the Middle East, while celebrating the fact that the noble cause of peace in this country has often attracted wildly opposing un-likes.... Democracy and war, these pieces collectively suggest, may be the strangest, and worst, bedfellows of all.”
“We stopped counting the number of wonderful advocates of peace in this book. It?s like finally finding a kindred group of like minds with whom you can feel at home.... This is an anthology well worth the read. It might also help you feel that peace is a battle worth waging, so to speak.”
“Read it and weep ... and cheer. Weep because we?ve been lied into wars in very similar ways for two centuries and have had to discover the deception anew each time. Cheer because some people have been there to denounce the lies on the spot every time, and their ranks have steadily grown.”
This history of America in anti-war writing, "coedited by a man of the left (Polner) and a man of the right (Woods)," is an insightful, relevant and varied collection that mines a strong tradition of American protest and principle. Covering the War of 1812 through "Iraq and the War on Terror," the editors provide a brief background essay for each before ceding the page to essays, interviews, letters, poems and photos from the past 200 years. Contributors include Daniel Webster, Stephen Crane, Eugene V. Debs, Helen Keller and Howard Zinn, as well as presidents and other government officials, mothers, social justice activists, poets and songwriters. Parallels among wars and the present moment are easy to find, and the many warnings hang heavy, given the ambiguous aftermath of America's conflicts. Eisenhower's 1961 warning against the abuses of "the military-industrial complex" is a standby centerpiece worthy of another look, but much of the material is just as interesting, informative and impassioned. Foregoing any dry lessons, this history-in-protest is a valuable read for study and conversation in advance of the 2008 presidential election, and should be of interest to a wide audience not limited to history buffs, antiwar activists, and those seeking perspective on today's war.
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History repeats itself, and Polner and Woods (The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History ) remind us that both Leftist dissent against jingoism and Rightist opposition to governments swollen by war run throughout American history. The authors present writings by thinkers and activists, from the War of 1812 to the Iraq War. Daniel Webster thunders against the draft of 1814; Abraham Lincoln denounces President Polk's lies about the war in Mexico as "the half-insane mumbling of a fever dream." Even less controversial wars had opponents; included pieces range from the religious and pacifist writings against the Civil War to a statement from World War II draft-resister David Dellinger. The pieces are arranged chronologically and include moral and legal statements, accounts by activists and veterans, and the traditional letters written by mothers. The book would have been even more powerful had it featured writings by minorities and about the wars on American Indians. A five-page list of antiwar films is also included. Recommended for larger public libraries and all college libraries.-Duncan Stewart, Univ. of Iowa Lib., Iowa City