Every War Has Two Losers: William Stafford on Peace and War

Every War Has Two Losers: William Stafford on Peace and War

by William Stafford
     
 

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Born the year World War I began, acclaimed poet William Stafford (1914-1993) spent World War II in a camp for conscientious objectors. Throughout a century of conflict he remained convinced that wars simply don’t work. In his writings, Stafford showed it is possible—and crucial—to think independently when fanatics act, and to speak for

Overview


Born the year World War I began, acclaimed poet William Stafford (1914-1993) spent World War II in a camp for conscientious objectors. Throughout a century of conflict he remained convinced that wars simply don’t work. In his writings, Stafford showed it is possible—and crucial—to think independently when fanatics act, and to speak for reconciliation when nations take sides. He believed it was a failure of imagination to only see two options: to fight or to run away.

This book gathers the evidence of a lifetime’s commitment to nonviolence, including an account of Stafford’s near-hanging at the hands of American patriots. In excerpts from his daily journal from 1951-1991, Stafford uses questions, alternative views of history, lyric invitations, and direct assessments of our political habits to suggest another way than war. Many of these statements are published here for the first time, together with a generous selection of Stafford’s pacifist poems and interviews from elusive sources.

Stafford provides an alternative approach to a nation’s military habit, our current administration’s aggressive instincts, and our legacy of armed ventures in Europe, the Pacific, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, and beyond.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
"Is it naive to seek national and international security through poetry?" asks Kim Stafford in his introduction to a book that celebrates his father's pacifist ideology. Published ten years after William Stafford's death, it is a fitting tribute to a lifelong pacifist and socially responsible American poet. Stafford uses his father's poems, as well as interviews and daily reflections, to show how dedicated he was to turning minds away from war and how firmly he believed that weapons of steel were never the answer. The book opens with a chapter from Down in My Heart (1947), which recalls a formative time in William Stafford's development as a pacifist and writer and the four years he spent in conscientious objector camps during World War II. The book ends with excerpts from interviews that touch on more contemporary wars, Vietnam and the Gulf. Essentially an intimate and focused study, the book captures many of the poet's scribbled thoughts, but his poetry and its antiwar message remain at the heart of it. Timely and relevant, it will speak vividly to many struggling to understand the fate of the post-9/11 world. Highly recommended for all libraries.-Maria Kochis, California State Univ. Lib., Sacramento Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781571312730
Publisher:
Milkweed Editions
Publication date:
10/10/2003
Pages:
168
Product dimensions:
8.40(w) x 5.40(h) x 0.60(d)

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