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Response to Review of Subversive Peacemakers, War Resistance 1914–1918: An Anglican Perspective

James Cronin has captured marvellously both the core of Subversive Peacemakers and the current excitement of peace movement historians around the period 1914–18. The work of peace historians is to discover new stories, to reclaim a hitherto hidden peace history, and to look at politics and conflicts in a different way from mainstream historians, from a peace perspective.

Subversive Peacemakers attempts to give both academic specialists and general readers a thorough and accessible insight into those who resisted the First World War. It does not try to be – it could not be – totally comprehensive, and that is the joy of it. It may not be reflected in Remembrance Day parades, but it is becoming increasingly clear from new research that the scale of war resistance was far greater than was previously realised. A recently published database of over 17,000 conscientious objectors gives local and family historians the chance to discover thousands of new stories. It would be impossible in a single volume even to tell the story of religious opposition in full, let alone the stories of those whose prime motivation was political.

Given that, I believe that Subversive Peacemakers is one of the best overviews of war resistance in this period, telling many hitherto undiscovered stories. For academic and general readers alike, it is a springboard for those who might consider further anti-war research in their own communities. I thank James Cronin for bringing out its many strengths in his fine review.