Peace in the Mountains
Northern Appalachian Students Protest the Vietnam War
Peace in the Mountains analyzes student activism at the University of Pittsburgh, Ohio University, and West Virginia University during the Vietnam War era. Drawing from a wide variety of sources including memoirs, periodicals, archival manuscript collections, and college newspapers such as The Pitt News, author Thomas Weyant tracks the dynamics of a student-led campus response to the war in real time and outside the purview of the national media. Along the way, he musters evidence for an emerging social and political conscience among the student bodies of northern Appalachia, citing politics on campus, visions of patriotism and dissent, campus citizenship, antiwar activism and draft resistance, campus issues, and civil rights as major sites of contention and exploration.
Through this regional chronicle of student activism during the Vietnam War era, Weyant holds to one reoccurring and unifying theme: citizenship. His account shows that political activism and civic engagement were by no means reserved to students at elite colleges; on the contrary, Appalachian youth were giving voice to the most vexing questions of local and national responsibility, student and citizen identity, and the role of the university in civil society. Rich in primary source material from student op-eds to administrative documents, Peace in the Mountains draws a new map of student activism in the 1960s and early 1970s. Weyant’s study is a thoughtful and engaging addition to both Appalachian studies and the historiography of the Vietnam War era and is sure to appeal not only to specialists—Appalachian scholars, political historians, political scientists, and sociologists—but to college students and general readers as well.
THOMAS WEYANT is an assistant professor of history at Black Hills State University in South Dakota.