We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Doing Time for Peace

Resistance, Family, and Community

Rosalie G. Riegle

Publication Year: 2013

In this compelling collection of oral histories, more than seventy-five peacemakers describe how they say no to war-making in the strongest way possible--by engaging in civil disobedience and paying the consequences in jail or prison. These courageous resisters leave family and community and life on the outside in their efforts to direct U.S. policy away from its militarism. Many are Catholic Workers, devoting their lives to the works of mercy instead of the works of war. They are homemakers and carpenters and social workers and teachers who are often called "faith-based activists." They speak from the left of the political perspective, providing a counterpoint to the faith-based activism of the fundamentalist Right.

In their own words, the narrators describe their motivations and their preparations for acts of resistance, the actions themselves, and their trials and subsequent jail time. We hear from those who do their time by caring for their families and managing communities while their partners are imprisoned. 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 book includes sections on resister families, the Berrigans and Jonah House, the Plowshares Communities, the Syracuse Peace Council, and Catholic Worker houses and communities.

The introduction by Dan McKanan situates these activists in the long tradition of resistance to war and witness to peace.

Published by: Vanderbilt University Press

Title Page, Copyright

pdf iconDownload PDF (443.4 KB)

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (445.6 KB)
pp. xiii-xvi

Ever since the Vietnam War, when I walked in candlelight vigils and visited draft boards with Catholic Workers and Quakers and students and friends, I’ve been a protester working for peace in the world, like many other people. One day I found myself crossing the line from protest to...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (424.1 KB)
pp. xvii-xviii

So many people helped me on this book: my daughter Meg, who cheerfully read drafts of my original proposal; the people who gave me leads to the narrators and ideas about crafting the book; the friends who offered hospitality on my travels, often on short notice; the folks who wracked their brains...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (434.2 KB)
pp. 1-5

Doing time for peace is nothing new. For as long as rulers have ruled by violence, peacemakers and justice seekers have found themselves on the receiving end of that violence. More than 2,600 years ago, the prophet Jeremiah was thrown into a dungeon for his words of prophetic witness...

read more

1. Precursors to the Plowshares Movement

pdf iconDownload PDF (937.5 KB)
pp. 7-48

Like most, I was taught US history with an emphasis on wars and westward expansion. Only as an adult did I learn that there have always been citizens opposing war and actively living their lives in opposition to armed conflict. The few conscientious objectors (COs) to World War I received...

read more

2. “Let’s Do It Again!”: The Berrigans and Jonah House

pdf iconDownload PDF (756.7 KB)
pp. 49-69

At the end of the Vietnam War, the two now-famous Berrigan brothers didn’t go back to teaching and parish work but remained in the forefront of peacework. While I was unable to interview either of them, we can learn of Dan through his poetry and of Phil through the words of his wife and...

read more

3. Beating Swords into Plowshares: Plowshares Communities and Their Actions

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.2 MB)
pp. 70-141

These are the nuclear abolitionists, the people who make nuclear resistance the compelling center of their lives, those who risk long prison terms and sometimes even death for their actions of symbolic disarmament. It’s a big step to go from crossing a line, sometimes with hundreds...

read more

4. Catholic Worker Communities and Resistance

pdf iconDownload PDF (946.4 KB)
pp. 142-202

The Catholic Worker (CW) movement has been resisting the culture of war since its founding in 1933. Founders Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin first envisioned a newspaper giving Christian responses to contemporary social problems. The newspaper advocated a quasi-anarchism called...

read more

5. Resister Communities: Syracuse, New York, and Hartford, Connecticut

pdf iconDownload PDF (989.6 KB)
pp. 203-252

Some cities are blessed with cohesive resister communities. These groups can plan large local actions together, host out-of-towners who come to attend actions or trials or to stand trial themselves, and most importantly, support each other in psychological, spiritual, physical, and sometimes...

read more

6. Resister Families

pdf iconDownload PDF (991.7 KB)
pp. 253-308

Resister families are as diverse as all families are, underneath, and the narrators in this chapter show this diversity as they speak candidly from the depths of their relationships. One thing they have in common with most of the people whose stories you’ve heard is that their resistance decisions...

read more

7. After the Millennium

pdf iconDownload PDF (709.3 KB)
pp. 309-336

The events of September 11, 2001, turned the world upside down. I remember seeing the second plane hit the World Trade Center tower and realizing that much of what I’d worked for since the sixties had now to be redone, that the government’s stance was likely to be retaliation and revenge...

read more

Epilogue: “Winter Begins”

pdf iconDownload PDF (433.7 KB)
pp. 337-339

It was the winter of 2003. The voice of the people had not been heard in the land and Baghdad had been bombed and occupied. Shivering in the Michigan cold, Saginaw resisters continued to vigil—night and day for over a week—braving the newly vociferous flag-wavers to say, “Not in our name. We...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (423.0 KB)
pp. 341-343

Law does not equal justice. The people in this book stood up for gigantic justice issues and were jailed for violating small laws. They are not as famous as Martin Luther King Jr., Susan B. Anthony, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, or Gandhi, but they stand squarely in the same historical tradition—people...

Appendix A. Brief Biographies of the Narrators

pdf iconDownload PDF (456.5 KB)
pp. 345-353

Appendix B. For Further Reading

pdf iconDownload PDF (452.7 KB)
pp. 355-357


pdf iconDownload PDF (471.9 KB)
pp. 359-369


pdf iconDownload PDF (509.2 KB)
pp. 371-387

E-ISBN-13: 9780826518736
E-ISBN-10: 0826518737
Print-ISBN-13: 9780826518712

Page Count: 384
Publication Year: 2013