Kathy Beckwith

A Mighty Case Against War

What America Missed in U.S. History Class and What We (All) Can Do Now

Published November 2015
300 pages, paperback
ISBN 978-1-937570-68-2
15.00 USD, 14.00 EUR

About the book

Beckwith relates a history of America’s wars that includes “What America Missed in U.S. History Class.” She details why war sells, the fallacies of common justifications for war, true costs of war, and sensible alternatives. A Mighty Case Against War proposes that this culturally supported, deeply entrenched system of governmental violence is simply too costly, destructive, counterproductive, and inhumane to leave unchallenged. An easily readable book, this is a resource for youth and adult education, peacebuilding activists, and all who have wondered if a world beyond war is possible.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 : Two Young Men and a Question:
“More than an end to war, we want …?”     1
Chapter 2: A Gallop Through America’s Wars    7
2.1 The Revolutionary War    9
2.2 The War of 1812    17
2.3 The Indian Wars    24
2.4 The Mexican-American War    36
2.5 The Civil War    41
2.6 The Spanish-American War    49
2.7    The Philippine-American War    58
2.8 The Tampico/Veracruz, México, Military Action    64
2.9 World War I    67
2.10    World War II    75
2.11    The Korean War    101
2.12    The Vietnam War    106
2.13    The Gulf War    117
2.14    Acts of Military Violence Outside of War     139
2.15    Recent US Wars    141
   Evaluation of War Template    144
2.16    The “Secret” Wars    145
2.17    Reflecting on Our Patterns of War    150
Chapter 3: Opening Our Eyes and Our Hearts    155
Chapter 4: Sales Pitches and Rah-Rah Cheers for War    165
Chapter 5: “War Is Inevitable. Why Fight It?” Plus Other Common Non-Sense and Un-Common Sense    185
Chapter 6: Extra! Extra! Hear All About It! Nonviolence Raging Success!    207
Chapter 7: If Not War, Then What?    225

Endnotes    251

Suggested Reading/Viewing    283

Book Club – Reading Group Discussion Questions      291

About the Author

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What others say

A Mighty Case Against War is exceptionally well researched and covers an astounding amount of history. Kathy Beckwith has produced an extremely good survey and analysis of America's wars. I am very impressed with her scholarship. Kathy offers hope in her conclusion that the habit of war can be broken. I taught American history in college for more than 25 years. After it was published I used Ronald Wells "The Wars of America, Christian Views."  Now I would either add, or replace it with A Mighty Case Against War.

- Dr. Ralph Beebe,
Professor of History Emeritus,
George Fox University, Newberg, Oregon.


"Kathy Beckwith's book lives up to its title. I probably can't imagine exactly how wonderful a world we'd have if everyone learned this book in history class, but I'd sure love to find out. I write about this same topic and nonetheless learned a great deal of new information here and found it to be brilliantly presented. The author's goal is clearly not to get us to believe something but to prod us into thinking.  She provides multiple points of view on wars. Understanding what each side saw helps us grasp what Beckwith points out next: the alternative paths not taken that could have avoided each particular war.  If we learn to anticipate war propaganda to come, if we are ready to reject it in real time, this book will have served its purpose, and more books like it will not be needed; war will have gone from 'inevitable' to archaic, humanity from endangered to resilient."

--David Swanson, author of War Is A Lie


About the author

Kathy Beckwith is a mediation trainer from Dayton, Oregon, working with schools (K-12) and community mediation programs. She is a mediator in parent/teen, victim/offender, and neighborhood mediation, and volunteers as a school mediation coach. Kathy became concerned about America’s strong reliance on war as a means of resolving international conflict. That concern led to research and study, and finally to this book. She discovered that she had, indeed, missed some things in U.S. History class.
Kathy is also the author of the picture book Playing War; a young adult novel, Critical Mass, dealing with sexual abuse in the lives of teens; and two books related to problem-solving, If You Choose Not to Hit, and Don’t Shoot! We May Both Be on the Same Side.
Kathy is a graduate of Northwest Nazarene University, Nampa, Idaho. She has been a Peace Corps volunteer, caregiver in a residential treatment home for boys, secretary for a geological exploration office, teacher at an international school in South India, and host parent for exchange students, in addition to living and playing with her family on a small farm where wild blackberries abound.