Annual Peace Lecture/Waging Peace Book talk
given by David Hartsough in Salem, OR, on Oct 15, 2014.

David Hartsough knows how to get in the way! He has used his body to block Navy ships headed for Vietnam and trains loaded with munitions on their way to El Salvador and Nicaragua. He has crossed borders to meet “the enemy” in East Berlin, Castro’s Cuba, and present-day Iran. He has marched with mothers confronting a violent regime in Guatemala and stood with refugees threatened by death squads in the Philippines.

Free Chapters in AUDIOBOOK
and some chapters in PDF format
plus links to reviews

AUDIOBOOK (on YouTube): Chapter 1 — The Seeds Are Sown: A Childhood Experiment with Nonviolence

At the tender age of seven, an encounter with a gang of snowball-wielding bullies prompts David Hartsough to experiment with nonviolence. Steeped in the gospel mandate to love enemies, and surrounded by the courage and compassion of engaged parents and other role models, he takes this lesson to heart and carries it with him into a vocation of peacemaking.

AUDIOBOOK (on YouTube): Chapter 2 — One Common Humanity: Meeting Dr. King and a Lunch Counter Showdown

PDF CHAPTER 2: One Common Humanity: Meeting Dr. King and a Lunch Counter Showdown

A visit to Montgomery, Alabama, during the bus boycott in 1956, and a brief encounter with Martin Luther King Jr., opens Hartsough’s eyes to the harsh realities of racial segregation and the power of active nonviolence. His years at predominately African-American Howard University are shaped by involvement in the student civil rights movement, including a very close lunch-counter face-off with an angry, knife-wielding racist who threatens to thrust the weapon through Hartsough’s heart—challenging him to take more seriously his commitment to nonviolence.

AUDIOBOOK (on YouTube): Chapters 3 and 4 

Chapter 3:  Crossing Borders: Citizen Diplomacy in Cuba and Yugoslavia

A summer in Cuba in the wake of the 1959 revolution, followed by a summer in Yugoslavia as part of the Experiment in International Living, take Hartsough into “enemy territory,” as defined by the United States government. These trips convince him that friendship cannot be destroyed by propaganda, and that peace is made by opening our eyes and hearts to the stories, sufferings, and perspectives of those on “the other side” and then acting on new understanding.

Chapter 4 — Bridging the Divide: Forging Peace at Checkpoint Charlie

A year in Berlin, Germany, living in the shadow of Checkpoint Charlie and crossing from West to East and back to study, further deepen Hartsough’s understanding of the Cold War divide. Moved by stories of horrendous suffering experienced by Germans during World War II, and troubled by the nuclear arms build-up and threats of war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, he redoubles his efforts to make friendships across the divide and work for peace.

AUDIOBOOK (on YouTube): Chapter 5 — Meeting the “Enemy”: Making Friends with Russians During the Cold War

A summer in the Soviet Union exposes the propaganda lie of “godless Communists” out to destroy Americans. Throughout the country, Russians open their homes, offer warm hospitality, and share their hopes for peace with Hartsough and his traveling companions—even as tanks filled with thousands of soldiers are on their way to build the Berlin Wall and further entrench U.S.–Soviet enmity.

AUDIOBOOK (on YouTube): Chapter 6 — Taking a Stand: Life as a Conscientious Objector

Believing that every human being is a child of God, and that killing another person is an affront against God and our common humanity, Hartsough registers as a conscientious objector as a teenager and begins practicing war-tax resistance, which he has continued in the decades since. A five-year stint as a Capitol Hill lobbyist with the Friends Committee on National Legislation takes him into the halls of Congress and the heart of resistance to the Vietnam War.

AUDIOBOOK (on YouTube): Chapter 7 — Blockade: Standing in the Way of Bombs Headed for Nam

PDF CHAPTER 7: Blockade: Standing in the Way of Bombs Headed for Nam

In Philadelphia, Hartsough and his family share life in intentional community as part of the Movement for a New Society, addressing the nation’s addiction to consumerism by living simply and its addiction to violence by working for peace. He helps launch a peace flotilla of kayaks and canoes in an effort to blockade Navy ships loaded with bombs and bullets headed for Vietnam, inspiring seven sailors who jump ship in an attempt to join the protest.

AUDIOBOOK (on YouTube): Chapter 8 — Reversing the Blueprint: Saying No to Nukes

After moving to San Francisco, Hartsough devotes his energies to the growing national movement to shut down the Diablo Canyon nuclear reactor, built on sacred Native American land near three fault lines, with a serious error in construction of safety systems. From that endeavor, he becomes involved with the Livermore Action Group, Nevada Desert Experience, and other efforts toward peace conversion in the West.

AUDIOBOOK (on YouTube): Chapter 9 — Accompaniment: Into the Central American War Zones

As Central America explodes in violence in the 1980s, Hartsough visits refugee camps, orphanages, and churches in the war zones. There he witnesses the courage of Christians who are literally embracing the cross—giving up their lives in the struggle for justice and freedom—and discovers the protective power of nonviolent international presence in the midst of the strife.

AUDIOBOOK (on YouTube): Chapter 10 — Assault on the Tracks: Facing Violence with Love and Courage

PDF CHAPTER 10: Assault on the Tracks: Facing Violence with Love and Courage

While attempting to blockade a train carrying weapons headed to Central America, Hartsough experiences the most difficult moment of his life, as he watches his dear friend Brian Willson get run over by the train and suffer a severed leg, broken bones, and an open wound in his head. Willson’s miraculous survival and unwavering commitment to continue the blockade inspires others involved in the effort to keep resisting on behalf of the thousands of victims who will be maimed and killed if the bombs reach their destination.

AUDIOBOOK (on YouTube): Chapter 11 — The World Is Watching: Facing Down Death Squads

The power of nonviolent international accompaniment is evident again in the Philippines, where Hartsough takes a stand with refugees in a church under threat of a massacre by death squads. On a return visit to Russia, he is inspired by the nonviolent throng of “Living Ring” protesters, who thwart a coup attempt and overcome the firepower of thousands of tanks and millions of soldiers with sheer courage and determination. And in Mexico, he steps into the middle of the conflict between the government and the revolutionary Zapatistas.

AUDIOBOOK (on YouTube): Chapter 12 — A Force for Peace: Creating a Nonviolent Army

During a heartbreaking return to the “former Yugoslavia,” which has erupted in genocidal ethnic conflict, Hartsough witnesses an amazing nonviolent movement in Kosovo, led primarily by students, and is jailed for offering nonviolence training there. His anguish over lack of international support for the movement leads to the launching of the Nonviolent Peaceforce, a global peace army that now includes hundreds of peaceworkers who have been deployed to Sri Lanka, the Philippines, South Sudan, and Georgia—with hopes for expansion to other conflict areas. 

AUDIOBOOK (on YouTube): Chapter 13 — Taking the Long View: Active Nonviolence in Palestine and Averting War with Iran

Under attack by Israeli tear-gas canisters and concussion bomb explosions in Palestine, Hartsough accompanies brave Palestinians protesting the “apartheid wall” that isolates them and undermines their livelihoods. In Iran, he once more discovers friends among so-called “enemies” and shares his determination to help ensure that the U.S. does not make them the next target for war.

AUDIOBOOK (on YouTube): Chapter 14 — Transformation: How Can We Transform Our Society from One Addicted to Violence and War to a Society Based on Justice and Peace with the World?

All over the world, people are increasingly embracing nonviolence as the most legitimate and effective way of waging struggle against oppression, injustice, and dictatorship. The author issues the challenge for us as a nation to overcome our addiction to violence and greed and join our sisters and brothers as part of the human family, living in the hope of nonviolent transformation.

AUDIOBOOK (on YouTube): Chapter 15 — Conclusion — A Proposal for Ending All War — An idea whose time has come.

PDF RESOURCES SECTIONS: Resources for Further Study and Action: What You Can Do

PDF REVIEW: Giants on the Earth: A Review of Waging Peace by David Hartsough

PDF REVIEW: Waging Peace and the ordinary, extraordinary life of David Hartsough — A review by Ken Butigan

PDF REVIEW: FROM Catholic Agitator Vol. 45/No. 1, February, 2015 — Review by Sandi Huckaby 

ENDORSEMENTS Waging Peace--book by David Hartsough

Waging Peace: Global Adventures of a Lifelong Activist Available now. 

Authors: David Hartsough with Joyce Hollyday • Foreword by John Dear • Introduction by George Lakey • Afterword by Ken Butigan Publisher: PM Press  —  ISBN: 978-1-62963-034-2 Paperback  —  $20.00

Signed copies available now from Peaceworkers (postage included) for a sliding-scale price of $20 to $25. Peaceworkers, 721 Shrader St., San Francisco, CA 94117

Waging Peace is a testament to the difference one person can make. Hartsough’s stories inspire, educate, and encourage readers to find ways to work for a more just and peaceful world. Inspired by the examples of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., Hartsough has spent his life experimenting with the power of active nonviolence. It is the story of one man’s effort to live as though we were all brothers and sisters.

Engaging stories on every page provide a peace activist’s eyewitness account of many of the major historical events of the past sixty years, including the Civil Rights and anti–Vietnam War movements in the United States and the little-known but equally significant nonviolent efforts in the Soviet Union, Kosovo, Palestine, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines.

Hartsough’s story demonstrates the power and effectiveness of organized nonviolent action. But Waging Peace is more than one man’s memoir. Hartsough shows how this struggle is waged all over the world by ordinary people committed to ending the spiral of violence and war.


“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 is one that every peace-loving person must read and learn from.” —Arun Gandhi, president, Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute (grandson of Mahatma Gandhi)

“It has been my privilege to work with David Hartsough over the years and to be arrested and jailed with him for nonviolent civil disobedience. I highly recommend 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,  Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers

“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 will inspire all those who read this book.” —Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Peace People, Northern Ireland

“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.” —Martin Sheen, actor

“If you want to know what it means to live a ‘life well lived,’ read David Hartsough’s masterful book. 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.” —Medea Benjamin, cofounder of Code Pink and Global Exchange

“Over thirty years ago 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, San Francisco


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 of Healing the Heart of DemocracyLet Your Life Speak, andThe Courage to Teach


“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.


“A remarkable man, and a remarkable story, pointing, always, forward, to what needs to be done, and can be done. It is a book of incitement to action. It will leave readers challenged to find their own path, with a greater confidence that nonviolence is not a way of avoiding conflict, but a way of changing the world.” —David McReynolds, former chair, War Resisters International, long time staff member of War Resisters League, and Socialist Party candidate for President in 1980, and 2000


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Waging Peace: 2014 Interview on Dedham, MA, Public Television



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