Something about the Vietnam War, I was told. Something about a trial in Harrisburg. I had no idea what all the book was about, or even if I noticed its subtitle. And yet I sat on it -- a signed copy -- for more than a year.
Burglar for Peace: Lessons Learned in the Catholic Left's Resistance to the Vietnam War. In it, priests catch fed cases surrounding clandestine anti-war activities. Co-defendants only a few years out of adolescence -- including the author -- cross-examine federal agents. One fugitive resurfaces to give a speech (with excellent suggestions for everyday engagement on the subject therein). And more.
In regard to civil disobedience alone, non-violence in the 21st Century is less of a platitude after reading it. Not in its entirety but largely Burglar for Peace is an autobiography. Yet Ted Glick, its author, cites a fair number of written accounts from his peers of the time and works from other authors. One of the things I like is that his reflections aren't all in hindsight. Rather, he notes some of them from journal entries and letters during and prior to the time he and the Ultra Resistance were putting in work or catching cases.
I also like that the book showcases a range of original, non-violent direct actions, and the purpose behind some of them. The one involving craters -- creative. Very. Illustrative, too. From a public optic, on the other hand, my favorite by the author involved the rice bowls. Given the action that underlay it, the bowls were as substantive as they were symbolic.
There was one action during which I was amazed Glick remained so cognitive. He went on to do at least a dozen similar actions, the next of which I feared he'd die from or suffer permanent injury. In regard to the former action, Glick would later admit about documenting it what he had not at the time. In that action, the author's near-daily confinement to contemplation and introspection didn't make for lively reading.
Relinquishing the status of draft deferment. Opting to stand trial alone without counsel. Voluntary deprivation time and time again. The limits to his courage to speak against each indignity of its kind. Acknowledging the potential abuses one might endure. The potential leader in the restless kid. The letter from his beloved, elder namesake. At times this book put some teardrops in my heart.
As mentioned, Burglar for Peace is not only an autobiography. There's legal strategy... organizational example... self-study... movement pitfalls... hope... And most definitely some inspiration. It's one guide from a 50-year veteran of non-violent direct action.
A book review of Burglar for Peace (Ted Glick) (Frida Berrigan, contributor)
Recommendor: Michael Badges-Canning
I had the pleasure of meeting Glick during an action in 2022. It was his first time back in Harrisburg in 50 years, he said. I didn't realize his age until I read Burglar for Peace.
Jubalyn ExWilliams lives in Pennsylvania (United States). You can find dozens of her reviews, including this one for Burglar for Peace: Lessons Learned in the Catholic Left's Resistance to the Vietnam War at landturn.com/reviews.
Commemorating 5 years of landturn.com (2019 - 2023)
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