Disturbing the Peace: The Story of Father Roy Bourgeois and the Movement to Close the School of the Americas

Overview

Disturbing the Peace tells the story of a Cajun priest, a former gung-ho Navy officer injured in a bomb blast in Vietnam, who has tirelessly championed human rights and aroused the conscience of a nation. The fast-paced historical biography also profiles the movement he founded to close a notorious U.S. Army school whose graduates have committed atrocities across Latin America.

The journey of this "spiritual hobo" has more twists and turns than the Mississippi River: from love ...

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Overview

Disturbing the Peace tells the story of a Cajun priest, a former gung-ho Navy officer injured in a bomb blast in Vietnam, who has tirelessly championed human rights and aroused the conscience of a nation. The fast-paced historical biography also profiles the movement he founded to close a notorious U.S. Army school whose graduates have committed atrocities across Latin America.

The journey of this "spiritual hobo" has more twists and turns than the Mississippi River: from love affairs that ended in heartbreak to patriotic impulses that ended in disillusionment. From dreams of wealth to missionary work among the poor. From protests and prison terms to a cloistered monastery. From confrontations with church hierarchy to political battles on Capitol Hill.

Bourgeois’ opposition to militarism began after a blind Vietnamese orphan opened his eyes to the realities of war. Since then, his human rights work has landed him in half a dozen war-torn countries.

The assassinations of six Jesuit priests in El Salvador in 1989 spurred Bourgeois to investigate the U.S. Army’s School of the Americas, then a little known training installation whose graduates were later linked not only to the Jesuit massacre, but to gross human rights abuses throughout Latin America.

The book also profiles the movement he founded to close the school; the Congressional battles over its funding; the Pentagon’s forced admission that the school used manuals advocating torture and assassination; and the courage of average Americans – including WWII and Vietnam veterans, students, teachers, union workers, professionals, clergy and elderly nuns – who have risked imprisonment each year at the annual November demonstration at Fort Benning, Ga., where the school is located.

After a ten-year battle, the Pentagon closed the school, only to re-open it under a new name -- the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. The SOA Watch movement continues to be one of the strongest voices of dissent since Sept.11, 2001, winning court battles that have helped safeguard First Amendment rights.

Time and again throughout the struggle, Bourgeois, along with his fellow provocateurs for justice, lends credence to Margaret Mead’s belief "that a small group of committed citizens can change the world."

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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
"...masterfully told... one of this season’s best books..."
National Catholic Reporter
"...diligently researched in-depth biography...even [Bourgeois’] detractors would learn from this book...although his message may anger them."
New Orleans Clarion Herald
"...a dramatic, well-written book that will grab and hold you."
New Orleans Times-Picayune
"...reads, at times, like a best-selling thriller, but is in the very best tradition of compelling spiritual biography."
Political Affairs magazine
"compelling story of courage and passion ...forces us to... see what our government is doing in our names."
Resource Center of the Americas
"The authors skillfully weave in the history of the deceptions by U.S administrations....The message couldn’t be more timely."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781570754340
  • Publisher: Orbis Books
  • Publication date: 10/28/2004
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword
1 The voice of the voiceless 1
2 The desert 5
3 Dying embers 11
4 A separate peace 19
5 Hearing the cry of the poor 30
6 Persona Non Grata 41
7 The blood of the martyrs 52
8 Missing 64
9 Gods of metal 79
10 Disturbing the peace 89
11 A desecration of principles 104
12 The lion's den 118
13 The blood trail 129
14 School of assassins 148
15 The dirty little secret 168
16 Perfume on a toxic dump 188
17 Prophets of a future not our own 209
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2005

    Disturbing the Peace: The Story of Father Roy Bourgeois and the Movement to Close the School of the Americas

    Disturbing the Peace is a compelling story of a cleric who has dedicated his life to waging what some might call a quixotic battle against the highest military and political forces of the United States. These same forcs look away from the evil they have wrought in other lands, specifically Latin America, and in American-run jails in Iraq. These evils, thanks to the machinations of the School of the Americas, include torture, murder, rape, and pillage. The school, costing Americans millions of dollars to maintain at Ft. Benning, Ga., is at the center of Bourgeois' relentless crusade. Bourgeois, who as a young man of the Louisiana bayoulands had beauteous Cajun mademoiselles at his beck and call and almost married one, chose the priesthood after heroic service and a Purple Hart in Vietnam. Following discharge, Bourgeois was appalled at America's foreign policy, which fawned upon megalomaniacal foreign dictators and which gave rise to the founding of the School of The Americas. This is no Bush-bashing bok. Presidents of recent years have all contributed to the shameful institution that teaches young foreign soldiers how to commit the most nefarious crimes, then sends them back home to put into practice what they have been taught on American soil by American teachers: Item: Dismembering a 55-year-old woman with a chainsaw. Item: Torturing a priest before throwing him out of a high-flying helicopter Item: Killing an archbishop, priests, and nuns in cold blood. Bourgeois and his followers have served time in jail and have had their lives threatened over their never-ending crusade to close down this inhumane cancer of te American military. Irony aside, the subject of this insightful, provocative biography is a modern Thomas Paine in clerical garb, indefatigably fighting for justice everywhere and against tyranny in his own country.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2005

    Disturbing the Peace: The Story of Father Roy Bourgeois and the Movement to Close the School of the Americas

    Disturbing the Peace is a compelling story of a cleric who has dedicated his life to waging what some might call a quixotic battle against the highest military and political forces of the United States. These same forces arrogantly look away from the evil they have wrought in other lands, specifically Latin America, and in American-run jails in Iraq. These evils, thanks to the machinations of the School of the Americas, include torture, murder, rape, and pillage. The school, costing Americans millions of dollars to maintain at Ft. Benning, Ga., is at the center of Bourgeois' relentless crusade. Bourgeois, who as a young man of the Louisiana bayoulands had beauteous Cajun mademoiselles at his beck and call and almost married one, chose the priesthood after heroic service and being wounded in Vietnam. Following discharge, Bourgeois was appalled at America's foreign policy, which fawned upon megalomaniacal foreign dictators and which gave rise to the founding of the School of the Americas. This is no Bush-bashing book. Presidents of recent years have all contributed to the shameful institution that teaches young foreign soldiers how commit the most nefarious crimes, then sends them back home to put into practice what they have been taught on American soil by American teachers. Item: Dismembering a 55-year-old woman with a chainsaw. Item: Torturing a priest before throwing him out of a high-flying helicopter. Item: Killing an archbishop, priests, and nuns in cold blood. Bourgeois and his followers have served time in jail and have had their lives threatened over their never-ending crusade to close down this inhumane cancer of the American military. Irony aside, the subject of this insightful, provocative biography is a modern Thomas Paine in clerical garb, indefatigably fighting for justice everywhere and against tyanny in his own country.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2005

    timeless and timely

    This brutal and sincere account of one man's journey down the paths of realization and revelation concerning the School of the America's is directly relevant and instantly accessible. It's grandest triumph is in it's ability to trump it's journalistic diction with a strongly peronsable and poetic narrative that will have the reader making the same journey as it's engagingly active / reflective subject Roy Bourgeois-- whether taking action or contemplating inaction, Roy Bourgeois is a troublemaking saint and a hero for our times. Not overly symbolic or mouthpiece myth-making, this is a book that should be read and, most of all, understood.

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