One of the most iconic logos created during the last half of the 20th century is what we call "the peace symbol," something so generic and so disseminated that most people have no idea where it came from. Created as a key piece of organizational identity by Gerald Holtom in 1958 for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), both that humble logo and that movement have stood the test of time. The history of the early antinuclear movement, spawned during the deep chill of the Cold War, is meticulously and lovingly presented here.
Written by an insider (Miles was chairman of the Youth CND in the early 1960s) this book offers an excellent overview of the nuclear age and its critics, and then proceeds to show how the movement has grown over the years as geopolitical militarism has changed. He also shows how the logo has been adopted by peace groups, ordinary citizens, and the commercial corporate mainstream. Although much of the story is rooted in England (and rightly so), Miles also discusses how CND issues and tactics spread to the United States and other countries concerned with nuclear proliferation and imperialism. It is overall reasonably well researched and illustrated, no lightweight coffee table book. A minor error - Mary Ann Vecchio, the young woman kneeling over a slain student at Kent State after the National Guard shootings on May 4, 1970 was not herself a Kent State student; she was a high school runaway.
It's ironic to note that the Reader's Digest Association published this book, given that they have generally been seen as holding a right wing bias. George Seldes in his 1943 title Facts and Fascism devoted an entire chapter to the Reader's Digest. In the mid 1950s television episodes featuring anti-Communist themes appeared regularly on TV Reader's Digest, an anthology of 65 half-hour family-oriented Reader's Digest stories dramatized on film. And in 1964 Reader's Digest published an article written by a senior editor called "The Country That Saved Itself" extolling the virtues of the brutal Brazilian military coup and dictatorship. The boxed teaser over the headline shouted: "Seldom has a major nation come closer to the brink of disaster and yet recovered than did Brazil in its recent triumph over Red subversion. The communist drive for domination - marked by propaganda, infiltration, terror - was moving in high gear. Total surrender seemed imminent - and then the people said No!"
I went on the 2nd Aldermaston march with NATSOPA and had a great time. I joined CND for the 2nd time when cruise missiles came to Greenham Common and I have recently re-joined the CND for the 3rd time. This book is a thread of my life including a picture of Phil Ochs. A terrific book to have on your bookshelf for all us peaceniks. One day the world will wake up and say PEACE in a loud voice.
It's hard to imagine that a history of the peace movement from the detonation of the atom bombs over Japan to recent days could have been better done. Even many members of NGO's such as CND, Amnesty, Greenpeace and Friends Of The Earth don't know the story of how we came to be where we are and it's a story well worth the telling.
The bonus is that the book is beautifully presented. I confess I was a little concerned that it's published by Reader's Digest, fearing it might be a little bland. But my concerns were unfounded. Barry Miles makes a fine job of the text and this large book has loads of photographs and artwork to help tell the tale.
The peace movement has surely been one of the most important public movements of the last fifty years. (And one I fear we may be in danger of losing as every large public demonstration now seems to draw people intent on violence, no matter what.) This fine book does the story justice.
Ouch! How I wish I'd read this book first, before I sat down and tried to write my own, rather measly ebook, in the same ball park, but nothing like as detailed and precise as this work. It's great. I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to know how protest developed, continued, and still makes an impression in the UK. That said, the focus is only briefly worldwide, so don't expect a grand panorama; it's domestic, but the stories, the quotes, even the photos are really appropriate and wisely chosen. I'd say to anyone, if you want to know the facts, go for this book. My only caveat is the rich price you have to pay, but then, it's a hardback. (Can't afford it? Go to your local library and ask them to order a copy. Easy.) If you're on a tight budget, try a book that's a bit cheaper, and includes free song words! Protesting Songs - History and How To
As soon as you see the cover you know that this book will involve you in the story of the peace movement on an international scale. The Nuclear disarmament symbol was created for the British Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament(CND)and has now become recognised by the world as the peace symbol. I have not read this book as yet as I lost my sight a few weeks after buying it -but now I have regained my sight I look forward to reading about the fifty years of protest as CND is a campaign that takes me right back to my twenties. So anyone who sees that nuclear disarmament is necessary should read this book. Anyone who is in interested in the history of the peace movement should read this book and even people who think we're all "commie infiltrators" should read this book.It looks good and won't tax the brain too much.