In this Week Three of the U.S. coronavirus crisis, books seem more popular than ever — though as its economic impact hits home, I do find myself wondering if anyone will be buying them in November, or burning them to keep warm.
Still, Ain’t Marching is in production now, and though its official publication date’s not till November, you can already pre-order it on Indiebound or Amazon. And things are happening really fast: have spent much of the month finalizing the text one last time, and thinking about next steps.
Among those final changes was one eliminating my chapter titles, in favor of simple time periods (e.g.,1754-1800). But I still miss the ones I came up with, a few of which I hope to use as headlines for an article or two.
To me, Chapter One will always be A Military Born of Dissent, and Chapter Two, about the “Indian Wars,” will always be a quote from Thomas Jefferson: “They must see we have only to shut our hand to crush them.” Next, for the period historians call “antebellum,” Chapter Three was San Patricios, Bleeding Kansas, and Violent Pacifists, while the Civil War chapter was Drafted Quakers and Soldier’s Heart. The 19th century closed out with the Philippine War and the birth of U.S. global imperialism, as Chapter Five: Unfinished Business and The First “Anti-Imperialists.”
I especially miss what I called my World War I chapter, Poets in Jail and Rebels in the Snow, and the following chapter through 1945, From “All Quiet” to “Never Again.” My Cold War title, The Iron Curtain and the Sheet of Steel, came partly from a Bayard Rustin quote about those years. The chapter ends with the Fort Hood Three, just before the Vietnam chapter, which I called Vietnam: When Everything Blew Up, and Everything Grew. I don’t miss what I called my 1980s and 1990s chapters, but I will always call the final chapter The Moral Injury of The Long War.
After all, I specialize as a writer in twisting a cliche till it hurts.