Radical Pacifism in Modern America: Egalitarianism and Protest by ProQuest

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Radical Pacifism in Modern America: Egalitarianism and Protest
Marian Mollin
                   Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006, 272 pp. Cloth, 978-0-8122-3952-2, $49.95




M
             arian Mollin has written a fascinating, if occasionally frustrat-
             ing, book about a tiny group of committed peace activists who
             struggled not only against the martial culture of the United States
but also the gender and racial biases of society and themselves. Not quite a
history of radical pacifists, not quite a polemic against their failures—from
someone who worked in a later generation of the movement—the book
awkwardly straddles the oft-difficult divide between scholarship and advo-
cacy. Ultimately, her book proves useful, especially to those interested in the
internal structures of (radical) social movements.
    The book chronicles the relative ups and downs of the far left of the pacifist
movement during World War II, the early decades of the Cold War, and the
Vietnam War. Though she never quantifies the handful of organizations she
studies, it seems she is talking about groups whose membership numbered,
at the most, in the low thousands, though perhaps at times in the hundreds;
in fact, she only occasionally references the relatively mainstream and much
larger pacifist organizations, like the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy
(SANE). Mollin’s thesis is repeated throughout: though admirable for their
objectives and passion to what is depicted as a noble cause, most leaders

Journal for the Study of Radicalism, Vol. 3, No. 2, 2009, pp. 159–177. issn 1930-1189.
© 2009 Mich
								
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