About the Book
On May 17, 1968, at the height of the Vietnam War, nine men and women entered a Selective Service office outside Baltimore. They removed military draft records, took them outside, and set them afire with napalm. The Catholic activists involved in this protest against the war included Daniel and Philip Berrigan; all were found guilty of destroying government property and sentenced to three years in jail. Dan Berrigan fled but later turned himself in.
The Trial of the Catonsville Nine became a powerful expression of the conflicts between conscience and conduct, power and justice, law and morality. Drawing on court transcripts, Berrigan wrote a dramatic account
of the trial and the issues it so vividly embodied. The result is a landmark work of art that has been performed frequently over the past thirty-five years, both as a piece of theater and a motion picture.
A renowned poet, Jesuit priest, and antiwar activist, Daniel Berrigan (1921-2016) has been called “the conscience of a generation.” He became a household name in 1968, when he seized draft records at Catonsville, Maryland, and burned them with napalm, galvanizing a protest movement and igniting widespread religious opposition to the Vietnam War. “Better the burning of paper than of children,” he told the judge. Berrigan published over fifty books of poetry, essays, and scripture commentaries in his lifetime. He was also arrested more than fifty times for creative acts of nonviolent civil disobedience and spent several years in prison.Robin Andersen is Director of the Peace and Justice Studies Program and Professor of Communications and Media Studies at Fordham University.James L. Marsh is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Fordham University.
A wonderfully moving testament to nine consciences. - —The New York Times
One who wants to know what an authentically Christian response to the questions of our time is like would be wise to listen to Father Berrigan. - —The New York Review of Books