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War No More: The Antiwar Impulse in American Literature, 1861-1914 Hardcover – May 24, 2010
Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
"Wachtell does a masterful job of uncovering many . . . neglected [anti-war] works, putting them in historical context, and establishing that there was, in fact, an American anti-war tradition. This is an excellent, eye-opening book." ---- Marshall Poe, University of Iowa,host of "New Books in History"
War No More upends the standard chronology of American antiwar literature, showing that American writers routinely questioned the morality and sanity of warfare decades earlier than most scholars have imagined." ---- Craig A. Warren, Register of the Kentucky Historical Society
"War No More is a fascinating and solid examination of the role Civil War-era literature played and the moral conflicts felt by the writers of that day." ----Michael Deeb, Civil War News
War No More is well organized, easy to follow and informative, drawing upon a wealth of primary and secondary sources. All in all, it makes for a very good read. ----Claire Parfait, Professor of American Studies at Paris 13 University, Cercles
"War No More is a landmark study, the most important work on war writing to have emerged in many years. Brilliantly conceptualized, rigorously analyzed, and beautifully written, it poignantly dramatizes the rich legacy of the pacifist impulse while offering stunning new interpretations of such major authors as Whitman, Hawthorne, Melville, Crane, Twain, Howells and James. It should be required reading for anyone interested in American literature, history, and human rights." ----John Stauffer, Chair of History of America Civilization and Professor of English at Harvard University
"This is a pathbreaking study, focusing not on patriotic gore but on patriotic pacifism....The romance of war is a perennial element in the American literary imagination. Those who wrote against the grain, those who saw the immorality, the obscenity of war, in the 50 years during and after the Civil War, are the subjects of Cynthia Wachtell's fine book." ----Jay Winter, Charles J. Stille Professor of History at Yale University and the author of Remembering War: The Great War Between History and Memory in the Twentieth Century
"Wachtell's style is a model of clarity and unfussy prose effectively presented in scholarship of the highest order." ----James H. Justus, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Department of English, Indiana University, and the author of The Achievement of Robert Penn Warren
Wachtell (American literature, Yeshiva Univ.) examines the rise of American antiwar literature between the Civil War, when Southern writing was in the grip of Sir Walter Scott's example, and World War I. To demonstrate the diversity of responses to war, she includes an early chapter on three reactions to the bloody Civil War battle of Chickamauga: the grisly, unpublished journal of Union Capt. Allen Fahnestock; a romantic story by Texas teenager Mollie E. Moore, and, finally, the ultra-bloody story by Union veteran Ambrose Bierce. She goes on to explore other writers on later conflicts, including the Spanish-American War, which prompted Mark Twain to write his savagely antiwar "A War Prayer." Wachtell musters a stunning wealth of evidence from writers both known and relatively unknown, from Hawthorne, Melville, and Whitman to Joseph Kirkland and Frank Stockton. Her most impressively persuasive chapter discusses how the technological advances that made possible the shift from smooth-bore musket to machine gun, in less than half a century, closed down the long-running debate on war as a romantic endeavor and brought a virtual end to romantic war poetry. VERDICT Wachtell's work is an important contribution to American studies, combining a crucial literary and historical perspective. Highly recommended for all interested readers.--Charles C. Nash, Nevada, MO --Library Journal, August 15, 2010
From the Back Cover
"Wachtell's work is an important contribution to American studies, combining a crucial literary and historical perspective." -- Library Journal
"An astute and eminently readable study that sheds much-needed light on the American antiwar literature produced in the five decades between the Civil War and the Great War." -- American Literature
"War No More upends the standard chronology of American antiwar literature, showing that American writers routinely questioned the morality and sanity of warfare decades earlier than most scholars have imagined." -- Register of the Historical Kentucky Society
Until now, scholars have portrayed America's antiwar literature as an outgrowth of World War I, manifested in the writings of Ernest Hemingway and John Dos Passos. But in War No More, Cynthia Wachtell traces the steady rise of antiwar writing in American literature from the Civil War to the eve of World War I. The authors examined include Herman Melville, Walt Whitman, John William De Forest, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ambrose Bierce, Stephen Crane, Mark Twain, William Dean Howells, William James, Theodore Roosevelt, and others. War No More concludes by charting the development of antiwar literature from World War I to the present, thus offering the first comprehensive overview of one hundred and fifty years of American antiwar writing.