CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Rosalie G. Riegle just published two books about people who have resisted wars since World War II. She will speak at Taylor Books Tuesday, beginning at 7 p.m.
Vanderbilt University Press published "Doing Time for Peace: Resistance, Family and Community" in October, which features her interviews with religiously motivated war resisters from a broad spectrum of jobs and careers, including law, religion, farming, engineering, teaching, publishing and the military.
Because of their actions, including refusing to be drafted and occupying nuclear bases, many ended up spending time in prison.
"Since 2004, I was able to interview 173 people from the Second World War up to the Iraq War. I also learned it is probably a lot easier for educated middle-class people in prison than it is for poor people."
Earlier this month, Cascade Books published Riegle's "Crossing the Line: Nonviolent Resisters Speak Out for Peace."
More than 65 peace activists contributed personal oral narratives about their acts of civil disobedience in anti-war protests and about sometimes serving time in jail for "Crossing the Line."
"I had known people who did civil disobedience to curb U.S. militarism. But I didn't know much about what happened after they were arrested," Riegle said during a telephone interview last week.
"I was, and I am, a Catholic Worker, a Christian who believes in serving the poor and living with the poor in a community.
"Lots of the people I interviewed for 'Crossing the Line' were Catholic Workers who see the non-violent Jesus. Their faith supports them.
"Jesus and Mohandas Gandhi are people who give them the courage to act as they do," Riegle said.
Riegle earned a Ph.D. in English language and literature from the University of Michigan. She taught English at Saginaw Valley State University from 1969 to 2003 and co-founded two Catholic Worker houses in Saginaw, Mich.
Back in 1968, Riegle met Dorothy Day, the activist who founded the Catholic Worker Movement. In 2006, Riegle published "Dorothy Day: Portraits by Those Who Knew Her."
In "Doing Time For Peace," Robert Ellsburg talks about his experiences in a Colorado jail.
Ellsburg's father is Daniel Ellsburg, a former U.S. military analyst who released the historic and previously classified Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War. Robert Ellsburg became a war resister like his father.
"Being in jail had been such a total removal from the recognizable world. You didn't see the outside or know if it was day or night. There was no color, no natural light, no fresh air, no plants or grass, no furniture, no windows, no pictures on the wall, no women, no anything," he said.
Camilo Mejia, a staff sergeant in the Florida National Guard convicted of desertion and sentenced to a year in prison, also spoke to Riegle.