—Hozan Alan Senauke, Clear View Project, author, The Bodhisattva’s Embrace: Dispatches from Engaged Buddhism’s Front Lines
David Hartsough’s remarkable book is just what we need right now when violence is rampant worldwide, war seems like the only answer to resolving conflict, and good committed folks complain of “compassion fatigue.” Waging Peace: Global Adventures of a Lifelong Activist is a gift to us at the perfect time—not just to inspire us by the work and witness of an extraordinary human being, but to remind us that nonviolence is powerful, effective, and can create lasting change. Hartsough’s understanding of nonviolent direct action, his stories of commitment and courage, and his vision for the future can help us all take the next steps in our own journeys toward peacemaking and nonviolent conflict resolution. This is a must-read book for activists and non-activists alike for it will help us glimpse what is possible when we harness our deeply held values and convictions to specific actions and step out on faith. Hartsough’s book describes a transformative power quietly sweeping the globe—a movement he has been part of for decades and invites us to join.
—Andrea Ayvazian, Pastor, United Church of Christ, Northampton, MA
Reading this book I had the feeling I was sitting at a kitchen table listening to David’s quiet, committed, compassionate, and very compelling recounting of his own adventures, to far-flung dangerous places ordinary Americans rarely go, on a mission of listening to those telling truths Americans have purposely been shielded from or which, if heard, have been ignored or denied.
David Hartsough has written the story of one life, his own, but through it we hear the stories of many, the too-little-heard stories of peacemakers across the world who have joined the struggle seeking solutions to conflict nonviolently.
David has again and again been willing to look horror in the eye, to witness evidence of the worst of humanity’s inhumanity, and in its very midst find evidence of hope and courage in the nonviolent actions of people trapped in what would seem to be utterly hopeless situations. He has been the eyes and ears of the international community and placed the truths we would rather not know before us. He has also brought us the stories of those who have brought down the powerful with the power of nonviolent action.
If, going forward, there is to be another, saner way—neither the hopeless passivity of doing nothing nor the historical, seemingly inevitable necessity of meeting force with force—we need the tools, the evidence, the good stories to be able to even begin to imagine that such a way is possible. David has brought to us the stories of that “other way” which is, in fact, the under- told parallel history of the nonviolent struggle, the life affirming force, being waged all over the world by ordinary people committed to ending the spiral of violence, people who understand, and believe in, the power of nonviolence, recognize our common humanity and accept the responsibility to stand up for one another, thus making this a safer place for all of us. This is a book I want everyone to read . . . and most certainly I want my grandchildren to read it! David has given us a precious gift.
—Andrea N. LeBlanc, Member of September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows
Peace will only come when all of us become the change we wish to see in this world. David Hartsough became that change and has spent the best part of sixty years working to bring peace to our troubled world. His book, Waging Peace—Global Adventures of a Life-Long Activist is one that every peace-loving person must read and learn from.
—Arun Gandhi, president, Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute (grandson of Mahatma Gandhi)
David Hartsough’s life story is exemplary for displaying a tenacious passion for justice beginning in his childhood, revealing the importance of being blessed with nourishing and loving parents. His early opportunities for travel to other countries demonstrate the importance of experiencing political and cultural life outside the claustrophobic U.S. American delusion of “exceptionalism.” David shares his political and cultural experiences in a most instructive, accessible and interesting manner. David’s consistent pursuit of nonviolence as a way of life, as well as a method of political expression and noncooperation, is remarkable, and a wonderful model for others who are concerned about radical change in modern society.”
—S. Brian Willson, Vietnam veteran, peace activist and author of Blood on the Tracks
David Hartsough has fully inhabited the last half-century of grassroots justice and peace witness, at home and abroad. In this memoir we encounter not only his own well-examined and deeply engaged life, but a virtual “people’s history” of social change as well. These compelling stories from one of the “elder statesmen” of the movement offer wise lessons about personal and political transformation for new generations of activists.
—Ched Myers, activist theologian (www.ChedMyers.org)
This is a memoir that inspires each of us to see ourselves as actors for peace. David’s life encompasses a history of social change over the past fifty years. His story telling lets us be part of a journey that sheds light on what it is to take responsibility to make everything within our reach right. The practical steps and resources at the end of the book provide a concise primer to nonviolent actions and social change. Thank you, David, for giving us an example of a moral foundation to build a just and peaceful world.
—Chuck Esser, coauthor of Resource Manual for a Living Revolution and A Manual on Nonviolence and Children and director of the Philadelphia Community School and Family Center
David Hartsough and his lifelong dedication to peace through nonviolent action and resistance are an inspiration to me. I became well known throughout the world for one massive action in the summer of 2005, but since then I have tried to live my life modeling my activism and personal life on such exemplary humans as David and his close friend and mine, S. Brian Willson. David’s autobiographical work, Waging Peace, not only gives an honest accounting of the struggles and sacrifices of waging peace but inspires us to follow his example and to be better human beings and planetary citizens through the simple beauty of simple living.
I am not a religious person, but I love David’s style and his living example of the admonition of St. Francis: “Preach the gospel always, and use words if necessary.” I highly recommend this book and am honored to be a tiny part of it.
—Cindy Sheehan, global peace and social justice advocate
David Hartsough follows in a long tradition of citizens nonviolent resistance to evil. He is an outstanding example of that particular Gandhi/King-inspired U.S. peace movement which puts a high value on living out the values of nonviolence. In his case, literally putting his life on the line—as, for example, in the numerous direct actions he and his friends have undertaken to blockade trains carrying weapons to war zones.
He has the gift of perceiving war, peace and social justice issues in their moral essentials—and then not flinching at the personal implications. This is a man who has the courage to take personal responsibility for what our own governments are doing to our global neighbors. And as he says himself, “courage is contagious.”
Hartsough has lived an exemplary and extraordinary Quaker life, dedicated fully to the righting of social wrongs. Reading his very readable, at times gripping, autobiography is a powerful tonic—a wake up call, as they say, to the whole world.
—Colin Archer, secretary general, International Peace Bureau, Geneva, Switzerland
It has been my privilege to work with David Hartsough over the years and to be arrested and go to jail with him doing nonviolent civil disobedience challenging wars and nuclear weapons. His riveting and inspiring stories in Waging Peace of his lifelong efforts to speak truth to power and to oppose injustice and work for peace confirm for me what I’ve long felt about him: that his has been a life lived nobly. I highly commend Waging Peace to every American who wishes to live in a world with peace and justice, and wants to feel empowered to help create that world.
—Daniel Ellsberg, The Pentagon Papers
David is one of those elders who has been through it all. From civil rights sit-ins to working in war zones, David shares moving stories of his travels that inspire, educate, and will cause you to further dedicate your life to a more just and peaceful world.
—Daniel Hunter, Training for Change, author of Strategy and Soul: A Campaigner’s Tale of Fighting Billionaires, Corrupt Officials, and Philadelphia Casinos
David Hartsough has spent his life disturbing the status quo of the social/cultural phenomena of bigotry, inequality, injustice, violence, hatred, and war. Much like an experimental physicist explores the world of subatomic particles using a particle accelerator, Hartsough’s spontaneous, or carefully planned, nonviolent actions collide with and reveal the psychology and behavior separating us from tolerance, equality, justice, peace, and love. The end result, of course, is to move us ever closer to those long-sought human qualities.
—David Lenderts, MD, Alamosa, CO
David Hartsough has truly been a Johnny Appleseed of American nonviolence, having been closely involved in most of the country’s nonviolent movements of the last half century, both as a trainer and frequently imprisoned participant. This book tells where his commitment came from, what happened to him along the way, and what he has learned. Particularly important are his cofounding of the international Nonviolent Peaceforce and the principles that now guide it.
—David K. Leonard, formerly dean of international and area studies, University of California, Berkeley
Here’s a life story of adventure, sacrifice, love, solidarity, seeing the world, and being all that you can be . . . and nobody had to join the Army to create it. Young people in search of excitement and nobility can do no better than to read this account of the life of one of our great activists today, who has been using nonviolence to resist violence—often with stunning success—since the 1950s, but who grows through the course of the story as an opponent of imperialism, a conscientious objector, a war tax resister, a peacemaker, and an organizer of the Nonviolent Peaceforce. This is people’s history as told by one of the people, who takes us inside the Civil Rights Movement, the Antiwar Movement, the Cold War, and on up to the current unilateral military expansion of the United States. David Hartsough’s FBI file has tracked his nonviolent good deeds since he was fifteen. At twenty he looked a man in the eye and said he would try to love him, as that man held a knife to Hartsough’s chest and threatened to end his life. Hartsough also looked President Kennedy in the eye and urged him to launch a Peace Race against the Soviets, and Kennedy did so. The stories in the book are phenomenal and help explain why Hartsough works today for goals that some deem impossible: this man has seen the impossible done before; in fact he’s done it.
—David Swanson, author of War No More: The Case for Abolition and War Is a Lie
If you are tired of reading the front page, where war, economic depravation, and other mega issues of a negative sort dominate the headlines; if you have had enough of sensational and violence-dominated news accounts which rarely get seriously analyzed by journalists screaming at each other or the TV monitor; and if you have any curiosity about what one person can do in opposition to so much virulent and troublesome public and political life, then I would recommend reading David Hartsough’s fifty-year journey along roads less traveled to build a peaceful world in Waging Peace: Global Adventures of a Lifelong Activist.
David has told his story by taking the reader through many of the countries that have experienced violent turbulence over the past fifty years. Actually, he takes the reader through what he has done in each of these situations to render peace a chance. A Quaker pacifist and heavily influenced by Dr. Martin Luther King at the beginning and throughout his peace-loving trek, Hartsough is driven by King’s notion that “One with God is a majority.” The reader will not find any long analytic argument in this book for the pacifist cause. The book offers something much better: a life lived in such a way to make a peaceable kingdom more possible. I have always believed that people act their way into new thinking more than they think their way into new acting. Hartsough’s risk-taking for the sake of peace and justice (before knowing all the facts) vindicates my belief over and over again.
—Richard Fernandez, director, Clergy and Laymen Against the War in Vietnam
There may be more dedicated and single-minded peace and justice activists in the United States than Dave Hartsough, but I haven’t met them in my fifty-plus years working in this field. In this book Dave details the forces that shaped his thinking and directed his footsteps during his life filled with adventure—sit-ins at lunch counters in the South, camping in the Soviet Union, Cold War Berlin, conscientious objection and war tax resistance, lobbying on Capitol Hill, interviewing President John Kennedy, blockading war shipments, and organizing for peace in the Philippines, Central America, Balkans, the Mideast, South Asia, and Africa. Chenoweth and Stephan, in their book Why Civil Resistance Works, give a lofty, academic overview of this field. Dave seems to have had an uncanny ability to be present at key events in the last half- century where nonviolent history was being made. In this book he tells how it looks and feels to individual activists at ground level. He describes with compassion, frustration, dismay—and sometimes wry humor—the seeming inability of many people in the U.S. and the world to understand the views of those committed to nonviolence and peacemaking. The book concludes with a valuable resource for all peace and justice activists—suggestions for action and an excellent list of books, DVDs, and websites.
—Ed Snyder, former executive secretary, Friends Committee on National Legislation
This book is a readable and extraordinary story of one man’s life, but it is so much more. It is a view into building people to people diplomacy, circumventing the self-serving divisiveness of our governments. It is a compendium of forms of activism both resistive and constructive. It offers a window to see behind the Cold War propaganda showing us, as we all suspected, that people on the other side of the iron curtain just wanted the same thing we wanted—peace—and, like us, they were taught to fear the “enemy.” This has implications when we are mired down in today’s propaganda. It is a story about peace teams and peace armies as an alternative to armed conflict. This is a must-read, hopeful book about the extraordinary work for peace possible by ordinary people.
—Elliot Adams, past president, Veterans for Peace
Waging Peace: Global Adventures of a Lifelong Activist, the story of peace activist David Hartsough is one of the most moving & most important books I have ever read. Anyone involved in the peace and justice/antiwar movement should read this book. David’s story is absolutely incredible. Everyone and anyone who cares about the condition of the human race should read this book. David’s life story gives me hope that peace and freedom for the people of the world is possible. We need more people to join together in a nonviolent revolution to change the world from its addiction to war to being about love and compassion for our fellow brothers anf sisters in every country. Reading this book will certainly help in this most important process.
—Frank Dorrel, publisher, Addicted to War, and producer, What I’ve Learned About U.S. Foreign Policy
Of the hundreds of amazing people I’ve met in my travels through life, David Hartsough is one of the most remarkable ever. His unwavering commitment to spreading the message of nonviolence for his entire life has had a huge impact in our world. The story in the second chapter of Waging Peace brought me to tears and will undoubtedly inspire the reader to step more fully into their courage and magnificence. Thank you, David, for this incredible contribution to a more just and peaceful world.
—Fred Burks, former translator for U.S. presidents; editor, www.wantoknow.info
If you want to be in the vanguard of those who struggle nonviolently for peace and justice, follow in the footsteps of David Hartsough. His story, so clearly told in Waging Peace, points the direction to an effective way to challenge injustice and work for peace.
—George Houser, executive director emeritus, American Committee on Africa, Methodist
Clergyman, and organizer of the first Freedom Ride in 1947 For over six decades, Hartsough has been walking his talk, spreading the gospel of nonviolent direct action to promote social justice, dismantle tools of war, and help people avoid and repair the brutal damage of conflict across the globe—the guy just doesn’t give up. Read this memoir because his stories show us a simple hero who embodies our common history and humanity.
—Harriet Beinfield, coauthor, Between Heaven and Earth: A Guide to Chinese Medicine
David Hartsough’s life of relentless persistence is a testimony to the power of nonviolence to transform our agonized world into the Beloved community. His story is a profound inspiration toward achieving that goal. Read it and learn.
—James W Douglass, author, JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters
I have had the privilege of knowing David Hartsough for many years and during these years my respect for him has only grown. With him, nonviolence and peace are not a matter of posturing, but authentic expressions of his soul. His daily life is a reflection of his love of God and His creation. He has willingly put himself time and again in dangerous situations to demonstrate that nonviolence works and can work anywhere, at any time. His work in different parts of the world has been a boon to humanity. Besides being a great human being, he’s a great storyteller. His stories are filled with deep humanity stirring you in your depths. I heartily welcome and recommend his memoir and trust his stories will inspire everybody who dares or cares to expose themselves to them.
—Jinendra Jain, senior trainer, EST and Landmark Forum
I cannot endorse David’s book enough. It is a book everyone needs to read as it speaks to our deepest humanity and will stir our souls into action. It is a book that touched me so much as the people come alive through the wonderful writing. I cried reading about the worst we humans can do but was uplifted by the sheer magnificence of the human spirit. David is an example of what one human being can do to change violent situations and suffering through nonviolence and love. From the moment he was born every event seemed to lead him to places where he could practice nonviolence and become an inspiration for the world as a peacemaker. I have had the honor to meet David and he walks the talk, he is being the change for the world. At the end there is a very helpful section with strategies, learnings, links, and actions we can all do. This is a human story of an amazing man doing extraordinary things for peace and justice yet showing how we can all be change makers. Love and compassion exudes from the words and I am sure all readers will feel it. It is a book of hope for a better world. The last chapter has a call for action to end war, one which I respond by saying, “Yes I am with you. Time to all act together to end war. I join my voice with you.” This is a book which needed to be written and now needs to be read by the world.
—Jo Berry, Building Bridges for Peace, Somerset, England
For courage, perseverance, and commitment to a nonviolent world, David Hartsough is my teacher. So I treasure this long-awaited memoir where, in his unassuming, ordinary way, he takes us along with him on extraordinary encounters that challenge our notions of what one person in one lifetime can do. From Guatemala to Kosovo, from Moscow to Palestine, he lets us see the kind of adventures that are possible for us as well, when we share his faith in the power of truth and nonviolence.
—Joanna Macy, author, Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in Without Going Crazy
David Hartsough’s memoir is the story of a young boy who met Martin Luther King Jr. That brief encounter changed the boy’s life. Years later, he followed King into a nonviolent mission to change the world. Following that leading for the rest of his life, David became a leader in a global nonviolent movement that is, today, making peaceful tomorrows a reality. David goes to places of violence and injustice. He goes only with nonviolence, trusting entirely to the force of truth and the power of love. From the Cold War era of nuclear weapons standoffs to today’s terrorism and drone wars, David takes us on a fascinating journey. Read it to remember, read it to learn, read it to be inspired, but read it.
—Joe Volk, former executive secretary, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Washington, DC
David Hartsough’s Waging Peace is a remarkable book not only because it tells the story of a man who did remarkable things—many biographies and memoirs do that—but because David did remarkable things that really matter. He didn’t set new records for athletic achievement, or overcome vocational and personal obstacles in becoming a celebrated public figure in the arts, media, sciences, or politics. His heart-wrenching struggles were not with the challenge of rising above the competition in a difficult field, or wrestling with flawed personal relations, recovery from depression or substance abuse or any of the other edgy staples of postmodern memoirs. David’s story is remarkable because he simply tried to be a good person in a world that doesn’t reward what Saint Paul in 1 Corinthians 13 called patience and kindness. Most of us honor love in its proper setting, that is, in the family and among friends. David was foolish enough to believe the love he’d absorbed in a loving Christian family was applicable in the wider world as well.
Like Gandhi and Dr. King, two of David’s saintly role models, David uses peaceful nonviolence to address the central social issues of his time: racism, poverty, global warming, and war. For putting in his peaceful two cents David was arrested and jailed over a hundred times. The stories that especially moved me were: the sit-ins in Virginia where he faced down an enraged citizen wielding a knife; his long pause in Moscow to consider his response to being told by the police that demonstrating against “peaceful” Soviet nuclear weapons could put him in jail for twenty years; being told by President Kennedy in the oval office that the peace movement needed to grow so that Kennedy could support it at the political level; keeping his income below the taxable level to avoid spending 50 percent of his taxes for wars (past, present, and future); getting to know Dr. King and Rev. Abernathy, and the comment from the Archbishop of the Russian Orthodox Church that many heathens love humanity better than many Christians.
I’m grateful for David’s truly remarkable life; and for the book itself, which is as direct and un-polemic, enthusiastic in the causes he holds dear, and humble in style as David himself (whom I’ve known and admired since he was a teenager working with the poor on weekends in the inner city in Philadelphia). David and Joyce have done a masterful job of telling David’s story clearly, directly, and with humor. While the emphasis is naturally on what David and his fellow peacemakers did, I appreciated David’s letting us know how he felt as he faced the ordeals and victories (of which there were a significant number) of his long life of service to God’s will in helping create a world closer to the creator’s original intention. In short, Waging Peace, is of interest to those who share Dr. King’s dream of a better America, and are willing to put their lives in service to the angels of their better nature. Waging Peace is a worthy addition to the short list of remarkable memoirs including: Gandhi, Thoreau, Nelson Mandela, Dorothy Day, Jesuit John Dear, and the Dalai Lama.
—John Corry, Workcamp leader in Philadelphia and member of Tanguy Homesteads in Pennsylvania
Six decades of stories, brilliant initiatives, and hopes for humanity put into action. In Waging Peace David gives us a much-needed dose of simple and imaginative lived ideas: Peace is possible through nonviolence in spite of overwhelming challenges. One person can make a difference, in this case what an extraordinary person! And, perhaps most importantly, dreams that change our world for the better are worth a lifetime commitment.
—John Paul Lederach, professor of International Peacebuilding, Kroc Institute University of Notre Dame
If you want to pass the torch to the rising generation, choose Waging Peace, Dave Hartsough’s life story. Dave’s life breathes with ideals and vision, a revelation of a life pulsing with the fire of courage, compassion, and conscience. Dave tells his story with such compelling humanity and humor, modesty and understatement, that it is a gift of exceptional inspiration. From the knife-to- the-heart during a lunch counter sit-in, to the attempted murder of Brian Willson on the tracks of Concord Naval Weapons Depot, Dave’s account is gripping testimony to the miracles and majesty that follow from choosing to live a life of love, choosing again and again to walk on the way lighted by one’s highest ideals.
Dave Hartsough was mentored and inspired by family, teachers, friends, and forged enduring loyalties and relationships in the crucible of resistance to Jim Crow racism, Cold War hatreds, the war against Indochina, the epidemic nuclear madness, and much, much more. Targeted early on by the FBI because of the clarity of his moral commitments, Dave lives a life journey of “experiments with truth” and risks, and continually undertakes deeds of witness and history-shaping heroism, immersed in national and global struggles and conflicts that have proven again and again how communities of nonviolence effectively act to protect life and human dignity.
Dave’s love of life is so great that he has expressed it again and again as a willingness to face death. Because Dave tells his story with such clarity and authenticity, he is able to share his spirit and light the fire that slumbers in every human heart, the fire of solidarity to struggle towards that different world which is possible. Waging Peace: Read it, be renewed, pass it on.
—John Schuchardt, Veterans for Peace, House of Peace, Ipswitch, MA
Most of us share an abiding interest in how people get from where they were to what they become, both the naturing and the nurturing, the influences present or absent, the choices made or refused, the roads traveled and the detours taken. For some, the sum is easily recognized from the parts; for others, you just scratch your head at the inscrutable. In this highly readable memoir, David Hartsough, one of our age’s greatest practitioners of nonviolent struggle against injustice and war (the FBI opened a file on him when he was fifteen; the Soviet Union banned for over two decades his return to that land) and indefatigable advocate of the things that make for peace, surveys the major engagements of his life work over nearly six decades of experiments with truth. Being charged with “praying without a permit” is but one of many revelatory disclosures. It is a glad thing that these stories are now available. —Ken Sehested, founding director of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America, now co- pastor of Circle of Mercy Congregation in Asheville, NC Although he is a very humble man, David Hartsough has a quality that is greatly needed by the social change movement: courage. His life has been one example after another of a person subordinating his ego to the team-building necessary for nonviolent revolutions to happen. Do yourself a favor, read Waging Peace and tap into the power of David Hartsough’s level of commitment.
—Kevin Danaher, cofounder, Global Exchange and Green Festivals
David Hartsough has lived history through life, or more accurately helped make history throughout his life. Waging Peace tells the story of a life well-lived with lots of lessons that can improve the lives of each of us, and the life of all of us as a whole. Whether campaigns for Civil Rights or ending the Vietnam War, or current efforts to ban the use of armed-drones or occupying public space to challenge systemic corruption; Hartsough has been there, not as an observer but as a participant. We all gain from his life’s experiences in Waging Peace, not only in how to be a better ‘participant in power’ which is how Cicero described being a citizen; but also how to live our own lives better recognizing we are part of an unsustainable way of life which his compatriot Brian Willson calls AWOL—the American Way Of Life. Hartsough does all this by telling lively stories in a way that holds your attention, looking forward to the next chapter in his life.
—Kevin Zeese, Popular Resistance, Washington, DC
David Hartsough’s lived experience reveals the history and strength of the movement for nonviolence in the world—a powerful tool, like drops of water that don’t know their strength until they’ve carved out the Grand Canyon, given life to the planet and made all change possible. From his early days of the Civil rights movement, learning the power of love as he stood up against an angry counter protester to his support for the nonviolent movement in Kosovo facing bombs and jail, to the formation of the Nonviolent Peaceforce working all over the world, David tells a story of standing his ground with grace, humor and a steadfastness that never seems to waiver. David’s life and his story are not only an inspiration to us all but his resources for further study and action show us the way that each of us can make peaceful change possible.
—Kirsten Moller, founding director and co-founder, Global Exchange
In today’s culture of twenty-four-hour news cycles, it is a rare delight to be able to journey with an individual through the course of a life. In Waging Peace, we are able to see the evolution of Hartsough’s commitments to nonviolence, to witness seeds planted bearing fruit decades later, and to understand how this single activist has been able to sustain a dedication to peace through many decades. Waging Peace, like Hartsough’s own life and contributions, is a gift to us all.
—Rev. Kristin Stoneking, executive director, Fellowship of Reconciliation
This autobiography reads like an exciting travelogue through some of the most important moments in the American peace and justice movements of the last sixty years. David Hartsough has an unquenchable thirst for righteousness, in the best sense of the word. From the dangerous diner sit-ins to desegregate the south in the 1950s, to his central organizing role in the anti– Vietnam War mobilizations in Washington, DC, to his groundbreaking grassroots citizen diplomacy in the Cold War Soviet Union, through a decade of Central American solidarity to the creation of his brain-child the Nonviolent Peaceforce, David has had a knack for being on the right place at the right time to do the right thing. Better than that, whatever place and time he is in, he makes it the right one. For the many of the thousands of younger activists like myself waging peace around the world today, whether in movements for peace and justice, human rights or humanitarian service, this rich wealth of nonviolent history is something we should not forget, and take the time to learn from.
—Liam Mahony, director, Fieldview Solutions; author, Unarmed Bodyguards and Proactive Presence: Field Strategies for Civilian Protection; activist for human rights and nonviolence
When great events happen, such as the falling of the Berlin Wall, we must never forget that people like David Hartsough and many others have worked hard to prepare the ground for such “miracles.” David’s belief in the goodness of people, the power of love, truth, and forgiveness, and his utter commitment to making peace and ending war and militarism will inspire all those who read this book.
—Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate, Peace People, Northern Ireland
From the age of seven, David Hartsough has been practicing nonviolence and loving his enemies. This book takes the reader vividly along with David as he experiments with soul force in movements for peace with justice around the world. Through his storytelling he creates a map for others committed to deep change and counters the notion that any of us are too insignificant to make a difference. He concludes with a bold proposal for ending war and provides practical tips for budding peaceful warriors everywhere. Read this book, it will wake you up and inspire.
—Lucy Duncan, American Friends Service Committee
At this critical amd opportune time in human evolution, Gandhi’s path is the most powerful expeditious path forward. David has lived, modeled, pioneered living peace. His dedication and example, his stories and being powerfully inspire others to act on their beliefs. His living love, being peace exemplify the path beyond war—a vibrant flourishing world for all.
His stories will rattle anyone who’s wasted time feeling hopeless, inviting and challenging all to express their heart’s deepest knowing, and participate in the most critical, scary, and fun “game in town.”
David’s journey humbled me, as he takes us to some of the planet’s most contentious wars and conflicts of the last half century, with an unflinching practice of love, he reminds us of our power, individually and collectively, to create a future of peace.
Reading the first riveting paragraph will launch you on an unstoppable read of David’s inspiring, moving experiments in peace.
—Mark Dubois, environmental activist and coordinator of Earth Day around the world
Autobiographies can carry with them an inference of “larger than life” characters and of stories singularly worth telling. They can set the central character on a pedestal and paint a picture hard to believe. David Hartsough’s is such a life and his tale is such a telling and yet at the same time we quickly see it is a fabric of experiences common to most of us, loving parents, genuine mentors, serendipitous intersections of events, one thing leading to another. The work of peacemaking is the life of living peaceful and staying on the road. In its simple telling each of us can remember where we were and how we responded to similar moments in our lives; when post-war traumas first touched our lives, when leaders of movements like the civil rights struggle crossed our paths, when someone else made a sacrifice for all that was too big to ignore. The fabric of David Hartsough’s life is proof positive that each of us can weave together a similar response to injustice and inequity, a life of integrity, fellowship, perseverance and simple love in action. David was one of the first to visit me when I became the director of FOR, we strategized together about refreshing peacemakers in nonviolence at the edge of Tahrir Square, and we participated together in Freedom Plaza in DC and Occupy San Francisco. I can vouch for the authenticity of a number of his stories, and I can celebrate his collaboration with Joyce Hollyday to tell them. But most importantly I can happily urge them upon you as a source of living history and a call to your own adventures waging peace.
—Mark C. Johnson, executive director (2007–2013), Fellowship of Reconciliation
David Hartsough has lived an exemplary nonviolent life. Waging Peace highlights the numerous ways he has done this in many troubled parts of the world as well as in the United States. Mr. Hartsough encourages us to do the same.
—Martin Sheen, actor
If you want to know what a means to live a “life well lived,” read David Hartsough’s masterful book Waging Peace. It is not only a page-turner, but it will probably transform the way you look at your own life—your priorities, your lifestyle, your future. Hartsough encourages his readers to live simply, but fully. To take risks, and make waves. To connect domestic and global injustice. To model, through citizen diplomacy, the ways you want your government to behave. And always, always love your enemy. Hartsough has plunged into the very depth of the key movements of our times—civil rights, the Cold War, nuclear weapons, Vietnam War, Central America solidarity, the Palestinian struggle, drone warfare. He has spent his life swimming against the currents of war, prejudice, and greed with a strength and vitality that is breathtaking. Waging Peace is full of adventure and daring—not the kind you’d see in a Terminator film but the courage of a person fully committed to the betterment of the human family. Read it. It will change your life.
—Medea Benjamin, cofounder, Code Pink and Global Exchange
“Friend, do what you believe is right, and I will still try to love you.” I still cry when I read that line even though I have heard the lunch counter story told many times. Dr. King, who David met when David was fifteen, said, “The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice.” In Waging Peace: Global Adventures of a Lifelong Activist, David gives us a first hand look at all the shaping, marching, crying, meditating, risking and organizing that goes into such a bend. Beyond a memoir, David’s story helps instruct and inspire many more of us to put our shoulders to the arc of history. His is the living story of social change over the last half century.
—Mel Duncan, cofounder and founding director, Nonviolent Peaceforce
This is a remarkable, deeply moving memoir: a true story of love, faith, conviction, and courage. You will read it with tears in your eyes, but also with astonishment at what a determined, nonviolent individual has done to make our world a more humane, peaceful place.
—Michael Klare, Professor of Peace & World Security Studies, Hampshire College
This is how we want to learn from our elders; pulling up a chair and hearing their passionate and vibrant stories of a lifetime working for peace and justice. From the opening sentence of Waging Peace, we were absolutely riveted. This fantastic book is just the sort of history young people need and are so hungry for today. Following David’s personal journey through tremendously important and historic social change movements is inspiring and deeply informative. The captivating, intimate depictions of his life in learning and service made it impossible to put the book down. Every young person, or person of any age, who cares about creating a world that works for all would benefit from reading this wonderful, engaging book!
—Michele Robbins, managing director, Youth for Environmental Sanity (YES!), and Ocean Robbins, cofounder, YES!, and CEO, the Food Revolution Network
David Hartsough’s compelling and exciting account of a life committed to building nonviolence is important to read not only because it introduces us to a true hero of contemporary activism, but also because it reminds us of how much can be accomplished when a small group of people allow their ethical commitment to healing our planet of war and violence lead them into courageous action to build a world of peace and justice.
—Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor, Tikkun magazine, and chair, the Network of Spiritual Progressives, www.spiritualprogressives.org.
Despite knowing David personally for years, I had no idea about the breadth of his involvement in nonviolent struggles around the world. His story opens a window into what a life of commitment looks like. From the Civil Rights movement to Occupy, David has always been involved front and center in ceaseless attempts to transform conditions of oppression and violence through nonviolent means. What he shows in these pages is that engaging in nonviolent struggle, with all its attendant hardship, is a way to live a life of deep joy and integrity. May it inspire many to embrace love and courage and the vision that says that we will prevail.
—Miki Kashtan, Lead facilitator and trainer, Bay Area Nonviolent Communication, CA
Waging Peace is a story of a remarkable life of nonviolence promotion throughout the world. As a committed disciple of Martin Luther King Jr., David has immersed himself in a mind-boggling array of movements including Civil Rights, nuclear abolition, anti-nuclear power, Palestine, Cold War, Vietnam, Latin America, climate change, Occupy, Anti-apartheid, peace teams, and many more. I relished reading the book and putting myself in David’s shoes as he faced down trains, guns, boats, and knives for almost sixty years. As an advocate of nonviolence, David has been immeasurably supportive of me and the Palestinian struggle for justice and liberty. He fervently has dedicated his life to the Quaker imperative to abolish war, first as a conscientious objector, then as an organizer and a teacher, and most importantly as a nonviolent soldier. This is the kind of hero I hope my grandchildren will emulate.
—Mubarak Awad, Nonviolence International and organizer of First Intifada in Palestine
Hartsough’s heartfelt memoir is a testament to the far-too-often forgotten legacy of courageous dissent. Reading this book is like relearning one’s history. I learned for the first time, for instance, that a drugstore I used to go to as a child had been a flashpoint of the civil rights struggle, since Hartsough himself was part of a sit-in there. Through his life, we discover new dimensions of our own lives and of our society—some disturbing, some hopeful, all of them true. As much as it’s the story of a heroic life, it’s an accessible handbook for how the rest of us can make our lives heroic, too.
—Nathan Schneider, editor, Waging Nonviolence, and author, Thank You Anarchy
From a dramatic moment of truth at a southern lunch counter, through five decades of struggles for justice and peace, David Hartsough has been willing to put his life on the line over and over again. His stories of creative and powerful nonviolent action can serve as a rich source of both guidance and inspiration to a new generation of activists.
—Pamela Haines, community activist, Philadelphia, PA
Waging Peace is a collection of powerful and moving stories about how one remarkable person has acted on his belief that peace is possible. It’s a must-read for anyone who wants to help create the world we all hope and pray for. Be prepared to be empowered!
—Parker J. Palmer, author, Healing the Heart of Democracy, Let Your Life Speak, and The Courage to Teach
Waging Peace is an inspiring book. Once into it, I could not lay it down. On finishing it, I felt renewed, refreshed, ready again to claim my place in the worldwide movement for peace and justice.
David Hartsough’s life has taken him to one trouble spot after another. His work has been with all kinds of people at every level and dimension of society, in cultures as diverse as Germany and Yugoslavia, Cuba and Serbia, the Philippines and the United States. It’s great to read his story, told by a person who has been there. David has paid the price. He knows the rewards. He has lived in ways that started in his own ethical core and flowered in the company of others.
David is fundamentally no different from the rest of us. He has been alert to opportunities, willing to respond to them, ready to join with others in creative witnesses to peace. We can do that too.
—Paul Niebanck, professor emeritus, environmental studies, University of California, Santa Cruz
Amazingly, David Hartsough has been on the scene just about any time a significant development was taking place in the history of nonviolent direct action over the past fifty years. He does not have an official portfolio; he just seems to know where he ought to be and he gets himself there. With startling courage that reaches back to his early childhood, and an unerring moral compass, he consistently speaks truth to power and serves the cause of peace. This book is a collection of some of David’s best stories, though certainly not his only ones. It is not only an engaging read, it is a chronicle of recent history from the pen of one who was consistently engaged in making it. One example: David and I discussed the concept of a nonviolent army together more than twenty-five years ago. While I lived a busy and comparatively safe life, he actually organized it! My hat is off to him and I am delighted that a wider audience can now thrill to David’s empowering autobiography. We can’t all be David Hartsough, but—as his book suggests—we can all do something.
—Peter Bergel, director, Oregon PeaceWorks
One more, though among the rare, convincing evidence of the universal efficacy and power of nonviolence, which is in a state of mind, and not in technique. Waging Peace: Global Adventures of a Lifelong Activist is an amazing and inspiring first-person account of “overpowering” adversaries, and in many instances changing their hearts in racial, conflict and war situations; saving victims from death squads and from genocidal wars and conflicts; showing the way of dousing hatred through nonviolence that is wielded as an unadulterated state of unconditional love and compassion.
Meet here an extraordinary ordinary one of us, who has been able to rise above name, fame and money, who is detached from fruits of his good deeds; does things as a matter of duty, with the blissfulness of a child, is in no competition with anyone, has no envy, and is forgiving even if people do him wrong and harm him.
David’s lucid and engaging narrative also exposes the deceit of the powerful of the world in the name of national interest, which is a euphemism for immoral economic interest of a consumerist mass society that takes on the cloak of national security and war on others when it is upset. It is within this fundamental awareness that peace, for David, has a radically different bearing than the one propelled and popularized by international mechanisms of “peace” which are part of the Western peace industry. David’s is an untutored, autonomous, self-inspired and self-governed defiance—fundamental, constructive and honest to the core. This book, on the one hand, takes the reader on a revealing journey of a compassionate and at the same time courageous, fearless life story of a lifelong fight for peace with justice; and, on the other, it makes an intelligent reading into the dynamics of conflicts and war because David’s activism is informed by insight into the modern lifestyle, governing systems and vision of nonviolence.
This book is an important addition to the literature on peace, conflicts, and nonviolence. David proves Gandhi right about what he called the need and possibilities of developing the science of soul, because he is rightly religious, deeply influenced from his childhood by the teachings of returning love against hate and self-suffering against torment.
I strongly recommend this book to all those who, though they extol the virtues of nonviolence and condemn violence, fail to act as an individual; to those who justify dousing violence by counter-violence; to those who mindlessly, innocently, or mischievously advocate “development” as a remedy of civil strife and conflicts; to those who wish to be and need to be educated about global/international theatres of conflicts and their dynamics; to those who want to understand how to find or create space and possibility for nonviolence in seemingly impregnable situations and areas of violence and conflict; and, finally to those who have lost their confidence about nonviolence. This book soothes the soul, stimulates nonviolence within, and inspires action.
—Rajiv Vora, chair, Swaraj Peet Trust, A Gandhian Center for Nonviolence and Peace, New Delhi, India
This short autobiographical book is amazing on a number of counts. The sheer breadth of David Hartsough’s half century of peacemaking experiences, historically and geographically, is stunning. His persistent courage and determination to speak, and live, the truth as he sees it, despite all manner of threats and dangers, is deeply inspiring. And his rock-solid commitment to the principles of nonviolence, including loving one’s enemies in the toughest of situations, can’t help but enlarge our sense of what’s possible, for us as individuals and for our world.
—Randy Kehler, cofounder and founding director of the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign
I found David’s memoir both entertaining and inspiring. Entertaining, because I found myself enthralled by his inside stories of countless nonviolent movements and causes all over the world. And inspiring, because I could not help but feel challenged by the single-minded way David has tried to apply the Golden Rule to this often violent and unjust world.
—Robert Levering, coauthor of Fortune’s annual “100 Best Companies to Work for” article and cofounder of Great Place to Work Institute
David Hartsough’s book Waging Peace reads like a travelogue—but to many of the world’s most violent and dangerous places over the past sixty years. It is also a record of his inward voyage, to find the deepest spiritual inspiration for his nonviolent activism and for his leadership in the antiwar and freedom movements. Together with his lifelong partner Jan, he has lived an exemplary life of sophisticated simplicity. With a clear vision and quiet fortitude David reminds us that we have no enemies to conquer but our own violent tendencies and our timid acquiescence of the intolerable. He belongs to that rare breed of unexploitable, fearless and compassionate role models calling us all to wake up and understand the nefarious forces at work, to see the obscenity of war for what it is, and to get out of our comfort zones to practice civil disobedience. David Hartsough is a real Mensch!
—Rolf Carriere, former UNICEF country representative in Asia, senior adviser to Nonviolent Peaceforce
“Once people overcome their sense of fear and powerlessness, anything is possible.” This is the clear and overriding message of David Hartsough’s inspiring new book, Waging Peace: Global Adventures of a Lifelong Activist, written with Joyce Hollyday. I loved this book! I was totally engaged and read it like a novel. This autobiographical account of David’s early influences and his lifelong journey of peacemaking shows what a deep spiritual commitment to nonviolence looks like. Engaging stories on every page provide a peace activist’s eye-witness account of many of the major historical events of the past sixty years, demonstrate the power and effectiveness of organized nonviolent actions, and impart the vision of a world transformed by courage, concern for the common good, and compassion for all. The book inspired me to deepen my commitment and redouble my efforts for peace.
—Sharon Delgado, author, Shaking the Gates of Hell and Methodist Pastor
Committing one’s life to being a witness for peace takes courage and discipline. A life of activism can also be a source of joy, good humor and blessed community, as David Hartsough’s inspiring stories so clearly illustrate. Waging Peace offers insight into the ways in which nonviolence can transform tyranny into justice, violence into peace—a timely reminder that one person can make a difference.
—Shan Cretin, general secretary, American Friends Service Committee
Over thirty years ago, when with great trepidation I went through nonviolence training in order to join the blockade at the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant. David Hartsough was my trainer, and his personal stories inspired me to put myself on the line for what I believed in. Later, I went on to become a trainer myself, and for some years Hartsough and I were in a training collective together. Now he’s compiled his tales of moments of crisis and his life story into this wonderful book. Waging Peace will inspire anyone who is concerned with social and environmental justice, and will help you formulate your own approach to the activism so crucial now for the world!
—Starhawk, author, The Fifth Sacred Thing
In this highly readable memoir, David Hartsough personifies the adage “Love life enough to struggle.” A man whose passion for justice and love for humanity has taken him to many parts of the world into the heart of some of the most significant struggles of the past sixty years, this book provides a personalized account of some of the greatest moments in popular movements for peace and justice.
—Stephen Zunes, professor of politics, University of San Francisco
Permit me to congratulate you for your persistent and steadfast acting out truth in the face of power.
—Staughton Lynd, author of Accompanying: Pathways to Social Change and Lucasville: The Untold Story of a Prison Uprising