John Lewis was a conscientious objector to war. Did you know that?

This blog, like my book, doesn’t tend to dwell on the brave folk who completely avoided military jurisdiction — the thousands in CPS camps during World War Two, the literal millions who spent the Vietnam era in alternative-service jobs. All of whom are important and honored, but to include their stories would swamp an already-capaciousContinue reading “John Lewis was a conscientious objector to war. Did you know that?”

Notes toward an introduction

  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”

Outtake: the first GI organizer I ever met.

Those of you who follow me on social media know that The Book is finally headed for bookshelves this fall, as I Ain’t Marching Anymore: Dissenters, Deserters and Objectors in America’s Wars. And the list of important people who didn’t make it into the final draft is impossibly long–which could also be said for mostContinue reading “Outtake: the first GI organizer I ever met.”

Happy 45th Anniversary, Daniel Ellsberg — or why he belongs in my book

today, almost exactly 45 years after a Marine Corps vet finally rocked the world, here it is. Now you know why I tried, and why my fantastic ex-colleague Judith Ehrlich followed her landmark CO movie with one about Ellsberg.

Ron Kovic’s Convention speech

Which no one ever heard, because the networks had stopped filming in 1972. (They’d already wrecked the candidacy of WWII veteran Edmund Muskie. ) We’ll never know if that speech might have rocked the world of Richard Nixon. Now, thanks to Studs Terkel’s chat with Hunter S. Thompson, you can hear it starting at minute 36.Continue reading “Ron Kovic’s Convention speech”

45 years ago, people learned what had happened in My Lai

And all  earlier drafts of my book included a sort of big-picture retelling of those events, focusing on signature dissenters like Hugh Thompson and Ron Ridenhour. Now that I’ll be referring to those events ONLY in a leaner, character-based narrative, I wanted this blog to have this version, of which I am pretty proud. IContinue reading “45 years ago, people learned what had happened in My Lai”

On Memorial Day, remember these priests, poets, politicos and pranksters!

That’s how I’ve tended to characterize the huge, diverse and boisterous movement working to stop the U.S, war against Vietnam, 1963-1975. I should have written an essay here about them last month, for the anniversary of the 1975 evacuation of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, but I could barely fit them in a chapter forContinue reading “On Memorial Day, remember these priests, poets, politicos and pranksters!”