This book recounts how people in the United States and around the world worked to abolish war as a legitimate act of state policy and won in 1928, outlawing war with a treaty that is still on the books. This successful work of those who came before us and insisted that war be outlawed points us toward new ways of thinking about both war and political activism. Ralph Nader put this on a list of 11 books everyone should read.
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When the World Outlawed War on November 11, 2011, became the first winner in the “Going For A Global Truce” Peace Contest.
“David Swanson is a truth-teller and witness-bearer whose voice and action warrant our attention.” — Cornel West.
“David Swanson has written a fascinating account of how peace once became the law of the land, through the Kellogg-Briand Pact. It is particularly pertinent in the era of the Endless War, by giving encouragement and suggestions of a path forward to those who want to give peace a chance.” — Liz Holtzman, former member of the U.S. Congress.
“David Swanson has done it again with this new book – unearthing history they don’t tell you about in mainstream media.” — Jeff Cohen, founder of FAIR and author of Cable News Confidential.
“David Swanson brings his laser focus, brilliant writing, and incredible intelligence to bear in this book, where he makes the case that the Kellogg-Briand Pact was a major step — as yet unrecognized — on the path towards eliminating war. He tells a wonderful story, shines light on the unknown peace activists who refused to be deterred by what was considered possible or reasonable, and makes a compelling analogy with slavery — like war, a worldwide activity deemed unstoppable — and like war, an immoral crime that must be ended. I have been active in the antiwar movement from Vietnam through Iraq. I have done political work for some of the most antiwar candidates of the modern era — McGovern, Jackson, Nader, Kucinich. I have marched and petitioned, organized and strategized, and played a part in peace demonstrations from Las Cruces, New Mexico, to London and New York. And I am a history buff. But until I read David Swanson’s book, I had never heard this story before — and certainly never understood why it was important.” — Steve Cobble, former political director of the National Rainbow Coalition, advisor to Jackson, Nader, and Kucinich presidential campaigns
“Swanson has done it again. This is a masterful account of how Americans and people around the world worked to abolish war as a legitimate act of state policy and won. Swanson’s account of the successful work of those who came before us to insist that war be outlawed compels us today to rethink the cost and morality of cynical or weary inaction in the face of our repeated resort to military threats and warfare to achieve policy goals.” — Jeff Clements, Author of Corporations Are Not People.
“David Swanson’s fascinating new history of the development of the much neglected campaign in the 1920s to outlaw war has many lessons for anti-war activists today. An essential read.” — Andrew Burgin, Stop the War Coalition.
“David Swanson predicates his belief that nonviolence can change the world on careful research and historical analysis. This compelling and wonderfully readable narrative examines pacifist developments in the U.S., dating back to the 1920s. Swanson then examines contemporary anti-war efforts. He writes from a particularly advantageous perspective because he is firmly rooted in plans and actions designed to put an end to war. Drawing from historical examples of success and failure, he help readers imagine achieving the U.N.’s eloquent mandate: ‘to eliminate the scourge of war.'” — Kathy Kelly, Voices for Creative Nonviolence.
“From Daybreak to War Is A Lie to When the World Outlawed War to a prodigious number of essays (and that’s just since the ’08 election) David Swanson combines the timeliest scholarship and logical elegance in a call to action: ‘to learn how to enjoy working for the moral good for its own sake.’” — John Heuer, Veterans for Peace.
“One of the best ways to radicalize someone’s thinking is to force the person to look at a cherished ideal in a fundamentally new way. David Swanson does that with War, an ideal cherished by too many Americans. Can the United States ever be weaned from its love affair with war — Endless War? This book provides the background for dealing with that question.” — William Blum, author of Killing Hope, and of Freeing the World to Death.
“How many Americans know that an American peace movement in the 1920s mobilized millions of people, and eventually the U.S. government, to get the world’s major powers to formally renounce war? Or that the Kellogg-Briand Pact is still on the books making our current leaders guilty of the same crime that we hung people for at Nuremberg? It’s time for a little education! David Swanson has written a wonderfully well-documented history of a time when Americans discovered their own power to organize and impact their government on the most vital issue facing the world, then and now: the abolition of war.” — Nicolas Davies, author of Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq.
“Polls show a large majority of U.S. citizens oppose current U.S. wars, but many Americans’ reluctance to engage in antiwar activism is in part due to their sense of impotence at having any impact on their own government. This book tells the story of how the highly energized Peace Movement in the 1920s, supported by an overwhelming majority of U.S. citizens from every level of society, was able to push politicians into something quite remarkable — the Kellogg-Briand Pact and the renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy. The 1920s War Outlawry movement was so popular that most politicians could not afford to oppose it. If any one piece of American history can re-energize the American people to again push their politicians, then this book can do it.” — Bruce E. Levine, author of Get Up, Stand Up: Uniting Populists, Energizing the Defeated, and Battling the Corporate Elite.
“‘Ahhh, peace, that would be so nice,’ an Afghan grandmother whispered after recounting how 30 years of war had devastated her family. The world community has failed her miserably, as it has failed so many millions from the Congo to Iraq to Sri Lanka. But David Swanson’s book gives us a glimpse of another possible reality, a world that says no to war. By recounting the heroic efforts of a generation in the 1920s that actually did pass a treaty banning war, Swanson invites us to dream, to scheme and most important, to take action.” — Medea Benjamin, cofounder of CODEPINK.
“David Swanson is on a mission to end war. In his latest book he brings to life an important story about a time when a national peace movement raged across our nation. The media covered this movement, and members of Congress were active participants. Through this movement a treaty was signed that outlawed war. Sadly today few know about this significant moment in our history, but Swanson’s book will help change that.” — Bruce K. Gagnon, Coordinator, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space.
“In an era of what sometimes seems like Orwellian permanent war, David Swanson’s Outlawing War reminds us of those in earlier periods who attempted the unthinkable for many of outlawing war. It is a timely reminder that nothing is inevitable in the way things are, that extraordinary things can be done, and that movements are not inexorably doomed to fail.” — Ben Davis.
Print ISBN 978-0-9830830-9-2
eBook ISBN 9781456605735
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AUDIO: David Swanson and Coy Barefoot Discuss Dick Cheney, War, and Peace
Video: David Swanson discusses this book in Charlottesville, Va.
Interview of David Swanson by Bruce Levine.
Review of the book by Bruce Levine.
Chat at Fire Dog Lake Book Salon.
Review of The Internationalists.