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The Peace Protestors (Hardback)

A History of Modern-Day War Resistance

Maritime > Naval > Royal Navy Military > Post-WWII Warfare > Afghanistan War Military > Post-WWII Warfare > Falklands P&S History > British History P&S History > By Century > 20th Century

By Symon Hill
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 280
Illustrations: 30 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781399007863
Published: 8th June 2022



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From Afghanistan to the Falklands, from Northern Ireland to Iraq, British troops are nearly always in action somewhere in the world. But whenever there is war, there will be people who resist it. Sometimes, they can draw on public sympathy. At other times, they stand alone against the crowd. Peace movements large and small have been a constant part of UK history, not least in the last 40 years. This book tells their stories.

Drawing on interviews, fresh research and newly released government documents, the book sheds light on some of the most surprising and overlooked events of recent decades. Peace activists in the 1980s did not know that Margaret Thatcher's government feared that US troops on UK bases would fire on unarmed demonstrators. When the ceasefire came about in Northern Ireland, few noticed the peace work that Quakers had been doing behind the scenes for years. While the jingoistic atmosphere of the Falklands War is much remembered, there is less talk about the protests against it that saw more than 100 arrests at navy recruitment centres and public demonstrations. Four women who successfully disarmed a warplane in the 1990s were just a few of those to be acquitted after actions that could have resulted in years in prison. Apparent public support for the campaign against the Iraq war masked deep and bitter divisions amongst anti-war activists. Dissent and disobedience within the armed forces continues far from the public gaze. As recently as 2011, Michael Lyons was refused discharge from the Royal Navy despite developing a conscientious objection to war. He spent seven months in a military prison.

This is a book that brings to life the realities of resistance by people whose refusal to conform has much to say about how we see the UK and British history today.

As featured in the article: 'We owe no loyalty to the King'

Church Times

Article: 'The vision of 'peace on earth''

Fraser Dyer reads the history of protests that sought to advance it

Church Times

As featured in

News Internationalist

Symon Hill's impressively comprehensive history of the modern UK peace movement takes us from the movement in 1980 when Ann Pettit had the idea of a women's walk to Greenham to the 2021 supreme court Ziegler ruling which quashed the conviction of four protestors who blockaded the DSEI arms fair in London.

Virginia Moffat, Peace News

Interesting look at the peace protestors who took centre stage in the second half of the twentieth century.

Books Monthly

Without fear or favour: Roger McKenzie recommends a book that charts the history of the peace movement in Britain.

Read the full review here

The Morning Star

The author of a new book documenting the resistance to war over the past 40 years says he hopes it can inspire people to realise their potential to influence change in the world.

Symon Hill’s The Peace Protesters covers the history of activism since 1980 and features many tales from the peace camp at Faslane.

The Helensburgh Advertiser

In The Peace Protesters by Simon Hill we hear about the grass roots protest against nuclear weapons, the A Rocky war and The war waged against Britain taking north Ireland. From those who were murdered for their efforts to those who live to see the difference they made I found all the stories harrowing I won’t say I agreed with all the protesters in this book, but I totally respect believing in something and wanting to do something about it. I love the personal stories of peoples lives and that is why I love pin sword press they have the best non-fiction books Simon Hill is a long time protester himself and I thoroughly enjoyed this book. If you love nonfiction and want to be a peeping Tom in the lives of peaceful protesters you should definitely read this book. They have so many stories and it makes for a very entertaining read.

NetGalley, Janalyn Prude

About Symon Hill

Symon Hill is a historian and peace campaigner. He is a tutor for the Workers' Educational Association, in which role he has developed new courses on anti-war movements, social conflict and overlooked aspects of British history. He is Campaigns Manager of the Peace Pledge Union and was previously press officer for the Campaign Against Arms Trade. He edited the writings of First World War pacifists for the White Feather Diaries, an online storytelling project. He has written three previous books and articles for publications including the Guardian, Morning Star, Church Times and Independent.

Perfect Partner

Opposition to the Second World War Conscience, Resistance and Service in Britain, 1933–45 (Hardback)

As Europe lurched towards war during the 1930s, many people in Britain, with the memories of the horrors of the First World War painfully fresh, set out to build groups opposed to the idea of a future war. Despite current notions of the Second World War as being a time when Britons pulled together with a unity of purpose, many of these organisations continued their work in either campaigning against the conduct of the war, or to alleviate its more destructive effects. The people who went against the political and cultural climate of the time have been somewhat airbrushed from history. This book…

By John Broom

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