These adulatory cameos don't shed much light on the practical efficacy of pacifist tactics (it's simplistically suggested,...

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THE PACIFISTS: Soldiers Without Guns

These adulatory cameos don't shed much light on the practical efficacy of pacifist tactics (it's simplistically suggested, for example, that peace between the Pennsylvania settlers and the Indians could have been maintained indefinitely if non-Quakers hadn't violated Penn's pact), but Lieberman does manage to convey the moral urgency of the pacifist position in a way that challenges readers of all persuasions. The often vilified William Lloyd Garrison (see The Demagogues, et al.) comes in here for respectful treatment in line with Emerson's contemporary judgment that ""he was an officer equal to his task."" Jane Addams is included in deference to the fact that ""in the World War I years women's peace groups were much more active than their male counterparts,"" while influential radical A. J. Muste is perhaps the most interesting and useful addition. It's hard to imagine that anyone curious about the Berrigan brothers, treated in the final chapter, would be satisfied with a brief recapitulation that dismisses the Harrisburg trial in several paragraphs. Here and there Lieberman's explanations cast doubt on his scholarship (he says that ""William Penn was a 'nonconformist' who just couldn't manage to fit in with the rest of the students"" -- without explaining the term's more specific meaning), but the collective biography format at least presents the highlights of the pacifist tradition in America, and is, as such, a good beginning.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1972

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1972