Peace Action: Past, Present, and Future is a collection of short, lively essays written by prominent leaders and supporters of Peace Action and its two important predecessors—the National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy and the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign. Just in time for its 50th anniversary, Peace Action brings together reflections on the largest and most influential peace organization in history. At the same time, this book provides a unique resource for understanding popular protest against nuclear weapons and war in the modern era. It illuminates the local, national, and international role of Peace Action today and outlines Peace Action’s strategies for the future, including ongoing protest against the war in Iraq and a negotiated resolution of nuclear issues in Iran and North Korea.
Read Katrina vanden Heuvel's blog on Peace Action at
- Peace Action provides the first complete history of the activities and accomplishments of the largest U.S. peace organization
- Provides unique information on Peace Action’s current programs and its plans for the future.
- Composed of original essays by prominent leaders and supporters of Peace Action.
- Illustrated with numerous photos of Peace Action leaders and supporters, including Dr. Benjamin Spock, the Rev. William Sloane Coffin Jr., Eleanor Roosevelt, Norman Cousins, Coretta Scott King, and George McGovern.
“What impressed me about Peace Action was that it was able to harness people’s spirit and idealism and the incredible disgust with certain U.S. policies—whether with the war in Vietnam, nuclear proliferation, arms sales, Pentagon pork, or the war in Iraq—and channel it not simply into acts of protest, but into effective action geared toward changing the way our government works by involving people in the process.”
—U.S. Representative Barbara Lee (D-California), from the Foreword
“Anybody concerned with avoiding nuclear annihilation, and with world peace in general, will find a treasure trove in this book. The voices of those who have created and led Peace Action groups not only provide valuable recent history but convey the kind of passionate wisdom that needs to be applied to our present world.”
—Dr. Robert J. Lifton, author of Death in Life: Survivors of Hiroshima
“This timely book recalls the difference SANE/Freeze made in slowing the nuclear arms race, reflects on lessons learned, and encourages us to renew our work for a saner, more peaceful world. The essays on the participation of women, faith communities, and grass-roots organizing are a refreshing addition to the history of Peace Action.”
—Pamela K. Brubaker, California Lutheran University, author of Globalization at What Price?
“At age 9, in 1970, our younger son looked at a TV image of an exploding nuclear bomb, and he murmured, ‘I hope I grow up to be an adult.’ He did. For that fact, multiplied among millions of us in the post-1945 world, we are indebted to certain fellow citizens and wise politicians who kept saying that to plan a nuclear war is to plan humanity's suicide. No organization said it more consistently than SANE/Freeze, now named Peace Action. This book is a history of that movement by those who led it. To read these chapters is to thank God for the prophets among us who not only dream of world peace but who insist it is the only truly realistic dream.”
—Donald W. Shriver, Jr., President Emeritus, Union Theological Seminary, New York
“Peace has become the vocation of every human being. Either we toil for a nonviolent future or we will suffer an unthinkable catastrophe. And there's precious little time. This book will help with its practical strategies and vision.”
—Walter Wink, Professor Emeritus, Auburn Theological Seminary, author of Engaging the Powers
“This book has given me renewed hope for the peace work that we do…Equally important it has reminded me that some of our best ideas are old ideas that are new again.
—Janette Watt, Peace Reviews
“In celebrations of its 50th anniversary, Glen Harold Stassen and Lawrence S. Wittner have edited, Peace Action: Past, Present, and Future – a collection of essays written by many of the courageous men and women who led the group and whom Schell described in a recent exchange in The Nation as “remain[ing] faithful and active in a cause in the lean years as well as the fat.”
—Katrina Vanden Heuvel, The Nation
“This collection of essays lives up to its title—exploring the ‘past, present, and future’ of Peace Action, the largest grassroots organization in U.S. history. … Stasses and Wittner did an excellent job of editing the book. Each contribution is relatively short and clearly written, offers insight on Peace Action’s achievements as well as its defeats, and provides a treasure trove of inspiration and wisdom for anti-war activists today.”
—Leilah Danielson, History News Network
“Peace Action is a handy and short introduction to the U.S. peace movement that can be useful in college or high school courses. It can also be a tool for activist groups, as it provides strategic insights that can be useful to contemporary peace and justice organizers.”
—Jackie Smith, Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame
Chapter 1: A Short History of Peace Action Lawrence S. Wittner
Chapter 2: The Beginnings of SANE Homer A. Jack
Chapter 3: SANE's Early Years Sanford Gottlieb
Chapter 4: The Vietnam War and SANE's Change of Focus Marcus Raskin
Chapter 5: SANE Reborn David Cortright
Chapter 6: How the Freeze Campaign's Unifying Idea Empowered Us Patricia McCullough
Chapter 7: The Freeze Grassroots Strategy: Building the Movement Ben Senturia in Consultation with Randy Kehler
Chapter 8: "Blessed Are the Peacemakers": People of Faith and the Freeze Jim Wallis and Jim Rice
Chapter 9: Women in the Antinuclear Movement Monica Green
Chapter 10: The Founding and Early Years of Peace Action Andrea Ayvazian
Chapter 11: Peace Action: 50 Years in the International Peace Movement Cora Weiss and Ria Pugeda
Chapter 12: The Strength of Peace Action's Affiliate Network: A View from the Left Coast Jon Rainwater
Chapter 13: Peace Action Today Kevin Martin
Chapter 14: Real Security in the Future: International Cooperation, Human Rights, and Freedom from Weapons of Mass Destruction Steven Brion-Meisels and Glen Harold Stassen