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War Against War: The American Fight for Peace, 1914-1918

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  77 ratings  ·  23 reviews
The untold story of the movement that came close to keeping the United States out of the First World War.

This book is about the Americans who tried to stop their nation from fighting in one of history’s most destructive wars and then were hounded by the government when they refused to back down. In the riveting War Against War, Michael Kazin brings us into the ranks of the
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published January 3rd 2017 by Simon Schuster
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Joseph Spuckler
Sep 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
War Against War: The American Fight for Peace, 1914-1918 by Michael Kazin is a study of American opinion of the war in Europe. Kazin is a Professor in the Department of History. He is an expert in U.S. politics and social movements, 19th and 20th centuries. His most recent book is American Dreamers: How the Left Changed a Nation, which was named a Best Book of 2011 by The New Republic, Newsweek/Daily Beast, and The Progressive. He is editor of "Dissent," a leading magazine of the American left ...more
Clif Hostetler
Jan 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
This book provides a history of antiwar sentiments at the time of, leading up to, and after the American entrance into World War I. These political battles of a hundred years ago regarding whether to enter a European war are largely forgotten by historians today—another example of how the losing side doesn't write the history books.

Once war was declared there was also broad resistance and non-participation in the military draft. Based on modern expectations, it is surprising how many people
Colleen Browne
Dec 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone with an interest in the history of that era.
Shelves: history, educational
This is a well-written, thoughtful book written by a professor of mine from last semester. It deals with those who tried to keep the U.S. from entering the fight in WWI and once in it, to end involvement. Heroic though they were, they were obviously unable to do it- partly do to the repressive measures designed to keep them from speaking what they knew to be truth. As people like Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge screamed that they were cowards and pushed to get the nation into war, ...more
The American Conservative
A slog, but not without rewards: that’s what best describes this account of Americans who opposed U.S. participation in the European War of 1914–1918. While Michael Kazin, a historian of progressive bent who teaches at Georgetown University, tells an important story, his book suffers from a want of zip. The narrative meanders. The prose lacks sparkle. Still, for the patient reader, War Against War offers much to reflect upon.

Kazin’s subject is what he calls “the largest, most diverse, and most
Jan 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A compelling, thoroughly researched book on the "War to End All Wars" and the diverse coalition of activists, politicians, and ordinary citizens that opposed it. American opposition to the Great War was not isolationist or able to be easily captured in any single sentiment- Southerners, Northerners, socialists, anti-corporatists, suffragists, republicans, and democrats all opposed the war.

If you are interested in peace, American history, militarization, socialism in the US, or coalition
Feb 13, 2018 rated it liked it
I felt like Kazin tried to turn history into a dramatic soap opera. With 100 different characters each with their own drama and own personality. It was super hard for me to keep track of all that happened up to WWI plus how each character played its role & how their drama fit into the story. I appreciated that this book wasn’t as stiff as so many other historians but this direction didn’t work for me tbh.
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I won this book and gave it to my husband, because he loves history. It sure didn't take him long to read - just a few days. He was into it. He states that he enjoyed learning about what went on behind the scenes leading up and into WWII. If anyone wants to learn about this period in our history, this book is definitely worth reading! It gets our seal of approval!
Tom Peebles
Nov 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Earlier this month, Europe and much of the rest of the world paused briefly to observe the 100th anniversary of the day in 1918 when World War I, sill sometimes called the Great War, officially ended. In the United States, where we observe Veterans’ Day without explicit reference to World War I, this past November 11th constituted one of the rare occasions when the American public focused on the four-year conflict that took somewhere between 9 and 15 million lives, including approximately ...more
Christopher Saunders
May 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Michael Kazin's War Against War chronicles the hodgepodge of pacifist groups that opposed America's entry into WWI and were persecuted during and after the conflict. They're a motley lot of socialists, suffragettes, idealistic tycoons, progressive politicians like Robert La Follette and mainstream liberals. Kazin does an excellent job exploring the broader background of pacifism, showing that it had deep roots in early 20th Century America; as evidenced by the variety of groups mentioned above, ...more
Jared Lebental
Nov 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
I picked this book up because it was a requirement for a political science 101 class I took at SDSU taught by a man named Graubart.

So here is the thing about War Against War. We [the students POLISCI 101] were told the book was supposed to explain how the first world war was the cause of the second world war and all subsequent wars the United states took part in. I'm forced to agree that the book does do that, but I can save you some trouble by telling you the same effect could be done in a few
Chris Jaffe
Sep 29, 2018 rated it liked it
I read this it bits and spurts over 6 weeks, and that's not an ideal way to retain info.

Kazin looks at the Peace Movement before and during WWI. Early on, there was hopes to create a movement that would end war. Then it was a hope to keep the US out of war. But the movement began to fracture as the US went more towards war. For instance, many suffragettes were peace advocates, but as the US ramped into preparedness, some went along with it while others remained steadfastly opposed.

One random
Robert S
Jun 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, nonfiction
Pop Quiz: What wars do you think of when you hear the phrase "antiwar sentiment"?

Answers that first come to mind likely include the Iraq War in 2003, the Vietnam War of the 1960s, and perhaps even the Civil War of the 1860s.

Less considered is World War I. Perhaps part of it can be attributed to the lack of teaching about the war in schools. Most education involving the war involves a shooting started it, the mention of No Man's Land, and then the mighty Americans coming in to bail the Allies
Scott Martin
Mar 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
(Audiobook). A somewhat timely read, given the 100 year anniversary of America's official entry into World War I is almost here. This work is a staunch reminder that American participation in World War I was far from a popular certainty. Various forces, from socialists and liberal-minded reformers to key industrial leaders, sought to keep America from entering into World War I for three years. For the most part, their efforts succeeded in making it difficult to impossible for the US Government ...more
Feb 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
War Against War, by Michael Kazin, is about the pacifist movement in the years prior to World War I. This was an interesting read, because I know very little about World War I and had no idea there was such a strong peace movement.

This book starts in 1914 and continues through the pre-war period, into WWI. It looks at the people and the politics involved in the fight for peace. Some players were mostly expected, like the women from the suffrage movement, and others surprised me. I would not have
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Kazin begins the book with the hypothesis that American entrance as a belligerent in World War I in 1917 closed off the only possibility to peace, and led to catastrophes of totalitarianism, genocide, and an even greater military cataclysm. Honestly, I cannot say that I agree with this. I have always felt that the United States should have gotten involved sooner, say in 1915, because it would have significantly reduced the overall number of dead and perhaps prevent the political-social collapse ...more
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaway-wins
My husband is the history fanatic and so he read this giveaway win instead of me. He was impressed by the thorough research, balanced historical viewpoint (despite a few glimpses of the author's apparent liberal bias), and unique perspective on this period in history. He appreciated the look into the people involved more than just the events that transpired.
Dec 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
100 years ago, a disparate group of individuals from all walks of life tried to stop the United States from entering World War I. They failed, of course, but their warnings and the results of the action they sought to prevent hold great relevance for today.
Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great great info that I craved but often the prose put me to sleep. Literally. Very little characterization. I need that
Jean Kelly
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very interesting book about the various factions that sought to keep America out of WWI. My memory from schooldays was that the movement was isolationist but the author provides a great deal of detail refuting that view.
Terri Wangard
Aug 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
War Against War is the story of a peace movement that almost kept the US out of World War One. It is filled with little known and long forgotten actions of the American government and its citizens.

America’s entry into the war foreclosed the possibility of a negotiated peace among the belligerents, who were exhausted by three years of fighting. In another year or two, the warring nations would have been forced to reach a settlement. There would have been no punitive peace treaty, no reparations,

Jun 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have tremendous respect for those high lighted in this account of the movement to bring an end to WWI. After hearing Dylan's Nobel Prize acceptance speech, I read All Quiet on the Western Front. Both books should be part of high school history classes.

There are a couple of fine books that describe how the Versailles Treaty (ending WWI) paved the way for WWII, as well as the conflicts in the Middle East. The US entry enabled Brits and French to retain/expand their empires. In the Middle East
Bonnye Reed
Aug 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
GNab I received a free electronic copy of this history from Netgalley, Michael Kazin, and Simon and Schuster in exchange for an honest review. Thank you all, for sharing your hard work with me.

GN I have a special interest in 20th century history, including WWI during which my maternal grandfather served. This book touches on those who supported isolationism during the WWI conflict - something only covered lightly in my past readings. I am grateful to more fully understand this aspect of our
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Michael Kazin is a professor of history at Georgetown University. He is co-editor of Dissent magazine.