Building a Just and Secure World highlights women's activism, often peripheral and one-dimensional in peace movement historiography which tends to dramatize men's antiwar and antinuclear activism in national organizations.
In Chicago, an urban center of anti-war and civil rights activism, a generation of middle-aged women leaders came to their involvement in the movement through previous experience in mixed-sex Leftist movements and local civil rights campaigns.
Participant historians of Sixties New Left, peace, and feminist movements of the Sixties have argued that the Old Left was defunct and the younger generation re-energized socialism in the early 1960s. These historians characterized Popular Front leftists as anticommunist cold war liberals who had abandoned youthful revolutionary aspirations for the reformist New Deal welfare state. Contrary to the arguments the Popular Front politics were defunct, Schneidhorst joins historians who argue the Popular Front generation continued to promote progressive and radical goals into the 1960s.