We Who Dared to Say No to War

American Antiwar Writing from 1812 to Now


By Murray Polner

By Thomas E. Woods

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This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around September 9, 2008. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

We Who Dared to Say No to War uncovers some of the forgotten but compelling body of work from the American antiwar tradition — speeches, articles, poetry, book excerpts, political cartoons, and more — from people throughout our history who have opposed war. Beginning with the War of 1812, these selections cover every major American war up to the present and come from both the left and the right, from religious and secular viewpoints. There are many surprises, including a forgotten letter from a Christian theologian urging Confederate President Jefferson Davis to exempt Christians from the draft and a speech by Abraham Lincoln opposing the 1848 Mexican War. Among others, Daniel Webster, Mark Twain, Andrew Carnegie, Grover Cleveland, Eugene Debs, Robert Taft, Paul Craig Roberts, Patrick Buchanan, and Country Joe and the Fish make an appearance. This first-ever anthology of American antiwar writing offers the full range of the subject’s richness and variety. Request Desk/Exam Copy


  • Library Journal
    “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.”

  • Texas Observer
    “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.”

On Sale
Sep 9, 2008
Page Count
368 pages
Basic Books

Murray Polner

About the Author

Murray Polner is a freelance editor and writer whose work has appeared in Washington Monthly, Commonweal, the Nation, Columbia Journalism Review, and the Jewish Week, among others. He lives in Great Neck, New York.

Thomas E. Woods, Jr., is a senior fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute. His numerous books include the New York Times bestseller The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History. Woods lives in Auburn, Alabama, with his wife and three daughters.

Learn more about this author