I Ain’t Marching Anymore

Dissenters, Deserters, and Objectors to America’s Wars

A sweeping history of the passionate men and women in uniform who have bravely and courageously exercised the power of dissent

“I am here as a citizen. I want the Congress to understand that as a citizen soldier I have the right to . . . speak out against an unjust war.” —Jabbar Magruder, army helicopter mechanic

Before the U.S. Constitution had even been signed, soldiers and new veterans protested. Dissent, the hallowed expression of disagreement and refusal to comply with the government’s wishes, has a long history in the United States. Soldier dissenters, outraged by the country’s wars or egregious violations in conduct, speak out and change U.S. politics, social welfare systems, and histories.

I Ain’t Marching Anymore carefully traces soldier dissent from the early days of the republic through the wars that followed, including the genocidal “Indian Wars,” the Civil War, long battles against slavery and racism that continue today, both World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War, and contemporary military imbroglios.

Acclaimed journalist Chris Lombardi presents a soaring history valorizing the brave men and women who spoke up, spoke out, and talked back to national power. Inviting readers to understand the texture of dissent and its evolving and ongoing meaning, I Ain’t Marching Anymore profiles conscientious objectors including Frederick Douglass’s son Lewis, Evan Thomas, Howard Zinn, William Kunstler, and Chelsea Manning, adding human dimensions to debates about war and peace.

Meticulously researched, rich in characters, and vivid in storytelling, I Ain’t Marching Anymore celebrates the sweeping spirit of dissent in the American tradition and invigorates its meaning for new risk-taking dissenters.


“With I Ain’t Marching Anymore, Chris Lombardi has given us both a thorough history of military dissent going back to the American Revolution and a vivid series of wartime set pieces that bring these dissenters to life. The result is a highly original book, at once scholarly and intimate, exposing the clash between personal conviction and social expectation whose significance stretches far beyond the battlefield.”
—Eric Jaffe, author of A Curious Madness: An American Combat Psychiatrist, a Japanese War Crimes Suspect, and an Unsolved Mystery from World War II
“Lombardi covers a lot of ground and chronicles events too little remembered today. Anti-war activists and civil libertarians will find aid and comfort in stories of those who just said no.”
Kirkus Reviews
“This big-picture overview makes Lombardi’s meticulously researched text essential reading. Beginning with Ritter’s revolutionary act of conscience, she covers every armed conflict the U.S. has engaged in and zeroes in on the many principled acts of courage that have turned flag-waving patriots into anti-war activists. The result is both harrowing and inspiring.”
The Indypendent
I Ain’t Marching Anymore is a must-read addition to books on the U.S. peace movement.”
“Lombardi’s book is well written and thoroughly researched, and includes many personal stories that offer great insight into the courage each dissenter had to summon and the consequences of their action.”
“Tens of thousands of books have been written about the American military in battle. But this is the first I’ve ever seen that tells the full story of more than two centuries of brave and stubborn dissenters who questioned whether these wars should be fought at all. Chris Lombardi honors these heroes with the vivid and lively narrative that they deserve.”
—Adam Hochschild
“What is striking and uplifting about this densely researched book is how often, and how naturally, people rediscover or unearth their humanity by refusing to kill and organizing against war.”
—Frida Berrigan, Waging Nonviolence
“In writing I Ain’t Marching Anymore, Chris Lombardi examines dissent in a manner that glorifies those who object to war as much as the public generally glorifies the nation’s most heroic warriors. I strongly recommend that high school and college students read her book as part of establishing a value system for life.”
The VVA Veteran
“An enlightening roundup of the long tradition of resistance within America’s armed forces.”
Publishers Weekly

News and Reviews

Waging Nonviolence

Read an op-ed by author Chris Lombardi about the 50th anniversary of the Winter Soldier Investigation

New Books Network

Listen to an interview with author Chris Lombardi with New Books in History

Publishers Weekly

Read a review of I Ain’t Marching Anymore in Publishers Weekly.

Goodreads Reviews