Not in Our Name

American Antiwar Speeches, 1846 to the Present

Edited by Jesse Stellato

Hardback - £82.95

Publication date:

16 July 2012

Length of book:

304 pages


Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271048680

Not in Our Name collects and analyzes the most important antiwar speeches in American history. It is a book about the origins and consequences of America’s wars, but also about the integrity and sacrifices of those who fought on the front lines of dissent. By telling the stories of the people who spoke out in good-faith disagreement with their government and fellow citizens, Not in Our Name records some of the most compelling acts of courage in American politics and some of the most passionate, beautiful, and mighty speeches in American history.

In Not in Our Name, Jesse Stellato presents the history of American antiwar speeches in a readable way that is neither pacifist nor partisan, featuring speakers with diverse backgrounds and political beliefs. By combining historical research with a review of classical Greek and Roman rhetorical theory, Not in Our Name also helps answer a fundamental question: “What makes a great antiwar speech?”

“Jesse Stellato's splendid collection of antiwar speeches, Not in Our Name, presents material unique to the literature of protest and dissent, one of the glories of American letters and a tribute to the power of open democracy and the First Amendment. Stellato's analysis and commentary reveal rich veins of political rhetoric, some more familiar, some unjustly forgotten, while opening up the larger question of how language that is consciously crafted can shape national life and foreign policy.  Here the decisions of government may conflict with the will of its citizens.  Reading these speeches, we realize that the exercise of power and the power of the aesthetic, the practice of historical interpretation and the creativity of literature, often inhabit the same words.”

—James Engell, Harvard University