Home Fronts

A Wartime America Reader

An illuminating documentary history that reveals the effects of U.S. military ventures overseas on more than a century of American life at home

“Who are the heroes that fight your war?
Mothers who have no say.
But my duty’s done so for God’s sake leave one!
And don’t take my darling boy away.”
—antiwar song, circa 1916

The United States has been at war for seventy of the past one hundred years. And even as American soldiers have fought overseas, war has profoundly influenced almost every aspect of American society on the home front—as this startling collection of wartime letters, song lyrics, poems, editorial cartoons, newspaper articles, leaflets, and government documents (from the Spanish–American War and World War I to the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War, and the war in Iraq) reveals. Home Fronts offers a vivid cross-section of American intellectual, political, and cultural life in wartime over the past century. Here are brief excerpts—set into historical context with concise introductions—from the most important work by intellectual luminaries, political activists, poets, songwriters, and presidents.

Across the rich variety of social commentary, political critique, and artistic expression—which covers the full spectrum from pro-war to peacenik—Home Fronts brings into sharp focus the startling continuities and revealing contrasts between past and present wartime experiences. A major historical resource, Home Fronts will also be an important intellectual tool for anyone contemplating the impact of war in our own time.

Includes the words of:

  • Muhammad Ali
  • Daniel Berrigan
  • William Jennings Bryan
  • Noam Chomsky
  • The Dead Kennedys
  • Eugene V. Debs
  • David Dellinger
  • W.E.B. Du Bois
  • John Hope Franklin
  • Marvin Gaye
  • Emma Goldman
  • Christopher Hitchens
  • Ring Lardner Jr.
  • Denise Levertov
  • Charles Lindbergh
  • J. Anthony Lukas
  • Dwight Macdonald
  • Herbert Marcuse
  • Thomas Merton
  • Richard M. Nixon
  • George Packer
  • Sydney Schanberg
  • Charles Simic

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