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Spouses and children talk frankly of the strains on family ties that a life of working for peace in the world can cause. The voices range from a World War II conscientious objector to those protesting the recent war in Iraq. The introduction by Dan McKanan situates these activists in the long tradition of resistance to war and witness to peace. ISBN: Je suis Heures de jeu :. Some peace activists engage in civil disobedience and end up serving long prison terms.

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What compels someone to do this, and how do the consequences affect their family members and community members on the outside? Rosalie G. Riegle, a professor emerita in English at Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan and co-founder of two Catholic Worker houses, tackles these questions in a pair of unparalleled oral histories of faith-based war resistance over the last 60 years.

I reviewed the books for The Catholic Worker newspaper, which continues to be sold for only a penny a copy! Through the generosity of the Catholic Worker houses in New York City, the review is also available here…for free! For those committed to protesting a war—or all wars—there are many available means for voicing dissent.

Some organize mass rallies, write letters to the editor, or make phone calls to members of Congress.

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Others, however, feel compelled to risk much more. They use their bodies to resist war by engaging in acts of civil disobedience that could result in arrest and even jail or prison. Rosalie Riegle, as a grandmother, decided to cross this line. Following a bench trial, she received a fine, but she had faced a possible sentence of six months in prison. She wanted to learn why some peace activists decided to risk imprisonment, and how it affected not only them but their families and communities.

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To find answers to these questions, Riegle undertook a monumental project. Beginning in she interviewed faith-based war resisters who have engaged in civil disobedience and often landed in jail or prison because of it.

Following nearly a decade of work, Riegle now offers us two unparalleled accounts of faith-based war resistance—mostly but not exclusively in the United States—over the last sixty years: Doing Time for Peace , which focuses on families and communities, and Crossing the Line , which traces war resistance beginning with World War II. Riegle, who raised four daughters and co-founded two Catholic Worker houses in Saginaw, Michigan, interviewed many Catholic Workers for the project.

The resistance actions described in these volumes involve a range of seriousness and risk-taking. In December , the late Peter DeMott, during an otherwise routine protest in a Groton, Connecticut shipyard, seized the opportunity to jump into an empty security van with keys it in, and he repeatedly rammed it into a Trident submarine.

It was a one-person Plowshares action. In less dramatic scenarios, resisters trespass onto a military base and wait to be arrested. Other resistance actions become legendary among activists for their comedic value. He planned to scatter ashes to represent the dead from a nuclear first strike. When the president was introduced, and everyone sat down, Cordaro moved into the center aisle.

He reached for the ashes, but they had become condensed with moisture, and they fell to the ground like clumps of clay. As this unfolded, he pants started to fall down, and everyone laughed at him. And who knows? Perhaps to cross lines of their own. Riegle endorses war resistance through these stories, and she undoubtedly admires and celebrates those she interviews, but these books are not hagiography.

Riegle asks some tough questions, and the resisters respond with honest stories about the many challenges, difficulties, and tensions of resistance work. The primary focus of Doing Time was learning how prison affected those family members and community members on the outside. Resisters with young children also have to face the implications of leaving their children behind. How would the resister cope with the separation, how would it affect the children, and what kind of responsibilities are left to the spouse or community? Riegle asked several resisters if they had any regrets.

The vast majority did not, but Darla Bradley, who participated in the Silo Plowshares at age 22, said she would not do it again.

Plowshares actions are misunderstood as a symbol, she explained. We have to help people see the faces of those who are suffering and not isolate ourselves.

Resistance communities also faced internal challenges of injustice. Some resisters described the presence of sexism within the ranks. When a group of women organized a women-only draft board action in Manhattan in , they encountered a lot of opposition from within the movement.


It happened all the time. While some resisters have lived their entire adult lives as committed members of the peace movement, others have experienced irreparably fractured relationships and therefore left. In each book Riegle uses interludes between some of the chapters to raise important questions, offer critical analysis, make deeper connections or feature a minority view on a given topic.

These interludes allow for discourse on contentious issues like property destruction, the use of religious symbolism in a pluralistic movement and society, and the repetitious nature of some actions with seemingly little effect. In one interlude on the Plowshares movement, Jim Forest expresses his admiration for Plowshares activists, which include many of his friends, but he also critiques some elements of the movement.

Forest also criticizes the Plowshares movement for being weapon-centered rather than relationship-centered.

Review: Doing Time for Peace: Resistance, Family, and Community

Ellsberg is at his best—reflective, interesting, candid and insightful. Riegle said she wanted to know why people like her—white, middle-class, and college educated—were willing to risk arrest and prison for what they believed. She relied on a network of personal relationships to identify people to interview for the project.