There’s the just-passed 30th anniversary of Operation Desert Storm, about which I managed to write exactly nothing and for which I now defer to Kelly Kennedy’s plangent memoir at The War Horse, which ends with Gulf War Syndrome but not before conveying so much more. There’s the 50th anniversary of “The Pentagon Papers,” as the New York Times tagged Daniel Ellsberg’s leak about U.S. misconduct in Southeast Asia. 50th anniversaries are particularly frequent, since 50 years ago the movement against the Vietnam war was at its height.
What might an international version of this book look like? Maybe, just maybe, it should focus on where this all began. When people ask me about my next book project, I say a lot of things — my MS memoir, a biography of the long-overlooked Lewis Douglass or Charles G. Bolte. But I also mentionContinue reading “Contagious Courage: Conscientious Objection Around the World”
It felt right to end November with the song that helped me for so long, by the guy whose first album was entitled “All the News That’s Fit to Sing.”
From William Apesss in 1813 to Jon Hutto and Aimee Allison in 2020, veterans have been fighting for racial justice as part of the oath they took to defend the Constiution.
Join Chris Lombardi & Adam Hochschild for a conversation on writing narrative nonfiction & the history of dissent in the U.S. armed forces. And no doubt we’ll talk about current soldier-dissent, from the National Guard troops refusing domestic deployment to the veterans mobilized to protect Black lives.
!– wp:code –> I started this week staring at the #WallofVets. The video above bears re-watching: for its diversity of ages, for the military branches represented, for the solidarity among the protesters, the “walls” of mothers, dads and veterans converged to face federal agents sent to suppress their node of the George Floyd uprising. TheContinue reading “Soldier-dissent in real time”
July 2020: As the book approaches publication WITHOUT an introduction, I decided to repost this from ten years ago, when it was still under the aegis of UC Press and Chelsea Manning was still imprisoned at Quantico. The book evolved as well, but the themes below whisper from between its pages. It’s been a long timeContinue reading “Notes toward an introduction”
On Twitter awhile back, I saw a challenge: “Describe your job in four words. I answered: “I talk to ghosts.” I mostly meant as a gonzo-historian, something I specialized in long before the Internet : the smell of microfilm rolls of decades-old newspapers still in my nose. Now, give a woman JSTOR ass and goodContinue reading “Leo Tolstoy, Phil Ochs, Joan of Arc and other ghosts”
The day before the Kent State anniversary, I heard NPR talking about that day. And I thought of some people they’d not interviewed: Vietnam veterans also seared by the shootings, and Phil Ochs singing “Who’s the Criminal Here?”
I was reshaping my Civil War chapter, with a scene on May 12, 1861 — with soldiers in the newborn Union Army singing a song for John Brown. That happened at Boston’s Fort Warren, on the harbor’s Georges Island. As I was trying to evoke that day, I realized a potential problem; I’d begunContinue reading “Oceanside soldiers, John Brown, and how the Civil War flips the script on dissent”