Make Art Not War

Political Protest Posters from the Twentieth Century

128 pages

87 color illustrations

November, 2016

ISBN: 9781479813674



Add to Cart Available: 9/30/2016

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Ralph Young is Professor of History at Temple University. He is the author of Dissent in America: The Voices That Shaped a Nation, a compilation of primary documents of 400 years of American dissenters. 

All books by Ralph Young

An extraordinarily visceral collection of posters that represent the progressive protest movements of the twentieth Century. 
Two of the most recognizable images of twentieth-century art are Pablo Picasso’s “Guernica” and the rather modest mass-produced poster by an unassuming illustrator, Lorraine Schneider “War is Not Healthy for Children and Other Living Things.”  From Picasso’s masterpiece to a humble piece of poster art, artists have used their talents to express dissent and to protest against injustice and immorality. 

As the face of many political movements, posters are essential for fueling recruitment, spreading propaganda, and sustaining morale.  Disseminated by governments, political parties, labor unions and other organizations, political posters transcend time and span the entire spectrum of political affiliations and philosophies. 

Drawing on the celebrated collection in the Tamiment Library’s Poster and Broadside Collection at New York University, Ralph Young has compiled an extraordinarily visceral collection of posters that represent the progressive protest movements of the twentieth Century:  labor, civil rights, the Vietnam War, LGBT rights, feminism and other minority rights.   

Make Art Not War can be enjoyed on aesthetic grounds alone, and also offers fascinating and revealing insights into twentieth century cultural, social and political history.


  • "Historian Ralph Young has presented a valuable collection of 20th century American political posters...Young's selection is a useful historical and thematic cross section."

  • "Ralph Young’s Dissent: The History of an American Idea, published by New York University Press in 2015, invoked the daring spirit and moral resolve of the late Howard Zinn. Make Art, Not War is the essential visual companion to this instant classic.  Drawing from thousands of compelling and provocative posters housed in the famed Tamiment Poster and Broadside Collection, Young presents a century’s worth of fierce dissent and unyielding opposition to hate, sexism, war, fascism, homophobia, and racism.  This is the coffee table book for the Bernie moment." 

    —Bryant Simon, Temple University

  • "The story of American dissent movements, so often expressed in word, also has a rich visual legacy brought to life in this volume curated by master historian Ralph Young. His general narrative and image specific commentary brings these images to life, making their stories relevant for a new generation continuing the age old tradition of dissent in America."

    —Bobby A. Wintermute, Queens College - City University of New York

  • "This collection of posters—a sampling of the art and design of dissent—is a wonderful visual counterpart to the protest music of the age. Every page should provoke discussion."

    —Beth Bailey, Foundation Professor, Department of History, University of Kansas

  • "What a wonderful collection!  Make Art, Not War combines the aesthetic with the political to show how the arts and culture have informed and protested social injustices and wars.  Often, art and culture are the first ways we learn of politics and dissent.  More than heavy theoretical tomes, we can see, in a poster or painting, powerful statements on racism, sexism, homophobia, or war.  Bruce Springsteen sang "I learned more from a three-minute record than I ever learned in school," and the same is true of Ralph Young's smart and incisive essay and the art presented.  It's educational and not heavy, anger-inducing but not shrill."

    —Robert Buzzanco , author of Masters of War: Military Dissent and Politics in the Vietnam Era