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Doing Time for Peace
Resistance, Family, and Community

Editor(s): Rosalie G. Riegle

In this compelling collection of oral histories, more than seventy-five peacemakers describe how they say no to war-making in the strongest way possible--by engaging in civil disobedience and paying the consequences in jail or prison. These courageous resisters leave family and community and life on the outside in their efforts to direct U.S. policy away from its militarism. Many are Catholic Workers, devoting their lives to the works of mercy instead of the works of war. They are homemakers and carpenters and social workers and teachers who are often called "faith-based activists." They speak from the left of the political perspective, providing a counterpoint to the faith-based activism of the fundamentalist Right.

In their own words, the narrators describe their motivations and their preparations for acts of resistance, the actions themselves, and their trials and subsequent jail time. We hear from those who do their time by caring for their families and managing communities while their partners are imprisoned. Spouses and children talk frankly of the strains on family ties that a life of working for peace in the world can cause.

The voices range from a World War II conscientious objector to those protesting the recent war in Iraq. The book includes sections on resister families, the Berrigans and Jonah House, the Plowshares Communities, the Syracuse Peace Council, and Catholic Worker houses and communities.

The introduction by Dan McKanan situates these activists in the long tradition of resistance to war and witness to peace.

Biography of Editor(s)

Rosalie G. Riegle is an oral historian who taught English at Saginaw Valley State University from 1969 to 2003. The author of two books on the Catholic Worker movement, Voices from the Catholic Worker and Dorothy Day: Portraits by Those Who Knew Her, she raised four daughters and cofounded two Catholic Worker houses in Saginaw, Michigan.


  • "I highly recommend Doing Time for Peace for the stories, the inspiration, the hope and the lessons learned."
    --National Catholic Reporter
  • "A compelling and unsettling book. Essential."
  • "A wonderful collection"
    --War is a
  • "Doing Time, in addition to its contribution to a more complete contemporary history, is a tribute to people who honor their conscience, no matter what the price."
    --Oral History Review
  • A Choice Outstanding Academic Title of 2013
  • "For those seeking truth, discerning their conscience and trouble by the systemic injustice, this book is a fresh adventure and even an inspiring liturgical journey."
    --Journal for Peace and Justice Studies
  • Winner of the Vox Populi Award for "Outstanding Achievement in Using Oral History to Create a More Just and Humane World" from the Oral History Association
  • "A major contribution to the literature of conscience"
    -- Colman McCarthy, National Catholic Reporter