by Marie Dennis for NCR
Burglar for Peace follows the trajectory of opposition to the Vietnam War, from draft resistance to massive anti-war protests, with a particular focus on a community of radical activists, including Jesuit Fr. Daniel Berrigan, Philip Berrigan and Elizabeth McAllister, whose legendary courage and costly, disturbing actions were inspired by their Catholic faith. Drawn to this “ultra resistance” following his own actions opposing the draft, author Ted Glick provides an inspiring insider’s perspective on some of the most radical acts of civil disobedience in U.S. history.
Glick’s intense, personal account of conversion, call, apparently reckless courage and careful discernment is a thought-provoking backdrop to the powerful anti-racism uprising and the increasingly obvious systemic failure claiming the attention of a pandemic-stressed world this year. He rightly recognized that most people today know very little about activities of the Catholic left during the Vietnam War; he tells that story very well. He also rightly assumed that insights gained through his own decades of activism for peace, social justice and environmental causes could be of use to contemporary social movements. He shares those lessons very effectively as well.
The book includes compelling accounts of the author’s participation in several high-risk burglaries, beginning in February 1970, as part of the East Coast Conspiracy to Save Lives. Particularly notable is his detailed account of entering the Rochester Federal Building with the Flower City Conspiracy in September 1970 to destroy draft files and to disrupt offices of the U.S. Attorney and the FBI. The Flower City Conspiracy’s trial in November 1970 attracted enormous public attention in Rochester and brought together powerful voices, including those of Dan Berrigan and Barbara Deming, to speak in their defense…