I Ain’t Marching Anymore: Dissenters, Deserters, and Objectors to America’s Wars

Chris Lombardi. New Press, $27.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-62097-317-2
Journalist Lombardi debuts with a well-researched and wide-ranging history of America’s “soldier-dissenters” and their efforts to speak truth to power. She contends that Revolutionary War soldiers who refused to fire their weapons in combat or defied orders to guard private farms helped to define what it would mean to be an American citizen, and details how “paltry soldier’s wages” and new taxes to pay off war debts sparked an armed uprising in Massachusetts in 1786. Disenchantment with plans to add Texas as a slave state led to mass desertions during the Mexican War, Lombardi notes, and set the stage for the Civil War, which saw acts of courage and defiance on both sides. Quaker soldiers served as medics or fled to Canada, while Black men and women, including Harriet Tubman and Lewis Douglass, the son of abolitionist Frederick Douglass,eagerly proved their mettle in combat. WWI and WWII saw harsher penalties for desertion, crackdowns on conscientious objectors, and battles to integrate the military. Lombardi also describes Vietnam War veteran John Kerry’s involvement in the antiwar movement, details protests by soldiers who enlisted after 9/11 and became disillusioned with the war on terror, and profiles Iraq War whistleblower Chelsea Manning. The wealth of detail impresses, though some sections drag. Still, this is an enlightening roundup of the long tradition of resistance within America’s armed forces. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 09/04/2020
Release date: 11/01/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 978-1-62097-318-9
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