David Hartsough is executive director of Peaceworkers, based in San Francisco, and is cofounder of the Nonviolent Peaceforce and an initiator of the World Beyond War movement. He is a Quaker and has a BA from Howard University and an MA in International Relations from Colombia University. Hartsough has been actively working locally and internationally for nonviolent social change and peaceful resolution of conflicts since he met Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1956.
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Waging Peace receives the 2015 Skipping Stones Book Award. Read more about it HERE.
Waging Peace: Global Adventures of a Lifelong Activist
Authors: David Hartsough with Joyce Hollyday • Foreword by John Dear • Introduction by George Lakey • Afterword by Ken Butigan
Publisher: PM Press
Page count: 272
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.
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 Democracy, Let Your Life Speak, and The 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
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
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.
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
Full list of endorsements HERE
For a calendar of speaking events, please click here
- Waging Peace: National Catholic Reporter
- Waging Peace: UCC
- Waging Peace: Catholic Agitator
- Waging Peace: Popular Resistance
- Waging Peace: PeaceNews
- Waging Peace: Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
- Global peace activist speaks: The Times-Standard
- Waging Peace: Peace in Our Times
- Waging Peace: General Board of Church & Society
- Waging Peace: Friends Journal
- The ordinary, extraordinary life of David Hartsough: Waging NonViolence
- Waging Peace: WorldBeyondWar.org
- Talk Nation Radio Interview
- From Montgomery to Ferguson on Making Contact
- Lifetime Activist, David Hartsough, Shares Wisdom and Vision for a Just World by Clearingthefog on Mixcloud
- David Hartsough’s 2014 Salem Peace Lecture
Waging Peace: A Review
By Martha Hennessy
National Catholic Reporter
March 16th, 2016
In reading this book, we are forced to look at ourselves and to acknowledge that our chosen lifestyles rely on war-making to attain such a high standard of living. The practice of American exceptionalism attempts to justify our consumption of massive amounts of the world's resources at the expense of the majority of the population.
Hartsough unfailingly identifies the places where nonviolent witness remains desperately needed. But beyond that, he also suggests the means by which we can confront the evil of greed-induced violence and sustain a long-term effort in bringing the transformative power of peacemaking efforts into the 21st century.
David Hartsough has given us a remarkable story of his life as a persistent and insightful peacemaker of our times. His wanderlust and astute eye for critical events around the world brought him to many of the right places at the right times.
A fine example was set for Hartsough in his childhood through the work of his father, a Congregational minister. Ray Hartsough answered the call of the Quaker service organization and was sent to Gaza in 1948 to lend assistance to refugees as a result of the Arab-Israeli War. As a child, David gained an immediate sense of the suffering of others and what is required to put one's faith into action to help bring peace and justice into the world.
Waging Peace: A Review
By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers
November 6th, 2015
"This is just one of many stories of David Hartsough’s long and beautiful struggle for peace and justice recounted in Waging Peace. David continues to be an inspirer in his work today. We remember him and his wife, Jan, coming to us when we were at Freedom Plaza during the Occupation of Washington, DC to talk with us about the injustices of the day and the strategy needed to transform injustice to justice. We also had David on our radio show, Clearing The FOG, where he did what he always does – without even trying – he inspired us to continue our work.
We believe David’s stories will inspire and instruct others to be advocates for justice and peace."
Waging Peace: A Review
By Henrietta Cullinan
October 2015- November 2015
The front cover of this book – a portrait of the author holding an iris in both hands whilst hemmed in by riot police – shows a kind, thoughtful-looking man, who one can well imagine meeting on a peaceful protest here in Britain. However, this image belies the book’s central message: if I believe that my life is no more important than anyone else’s, then I need to be prepared to put my own life in danger.
Several examples are provided by the ‘spiritual giants’ the author has met during his life as a committed peace worker. Thus Hartsough recalls a summer of organising with Brian Willson, a Vietnam veteran who, during protests in California, lay on the railway line in front of a train carrying munitions bound for Central America.
Waging Peace: A Review
By David Krieger
Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
September 11th, 2015
I recently read this impressive autobiography by nonviolent activist David Hartsough, which I recommend highly. David was born in 1940 and has been a lifelong participant and leader in actions seeking a more decent world through nonviolent means. His guiding stars have been peace, justice, nonviolence and human dignity. He has been a foe of all U.S. wars during his lifetime, and a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War. He has lived his nonviolence and made it an adventure in seeking truth, as Gandhi did. I will not try to recount the many adventures that he writes about, but they include civil rights sit-ins, blockading weapons bound for Vietnam, accompanying at-risk individuals in the wars in Central America and creating, with a colleague, a Nonviolent Peaceforce.Read more | Buy book now | Download e-Book now | Back to reviews | Back to top
Global peace activist speaks
June 19th, 2015
"...Hartsough has been active in peacemaking and nonviolent movements around the world and will share some of those experiences. 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.
Hartsough’s stories in “Waging Peace” 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. His stories provide a peace activist’s eyewitness account of many of the major historical events of the past 60 years, including the Civil Rights and anti-Vietnam War movements in the U.S., as well as nonviolent efforts in the Soviet Union, Kosovo, Palestine, Sri Lanka and the Philippines..."
Waging Peace: A review
By S. Brian Willson
Peace in Our Times
Spring 2015 issue
"We are fortunate to finally have David Hartsough’s Waging Peace, an extraordinary description of his amazing sixty-year journey as an activist spanning the entire Cold War and continuing to the present. As one of today’s authentic elders, Hartsough offers us a body of experiential knowledge presented in dramatic detail sometimes easily forgotten in today’s digital era of short memories.
Hartsough excitedly shares wisdom garnered from a broad range of experiences: direct, nonviolent confrontation of Cold War policies during his travels in Europe as well as in the US; active participation in the Civil Rights movement (he met Martin Luther King, Jr. at age 15); becoming a conscientious objector to US military conscription in the 1950s; participating with others in physically blocking weapons and military ships headed for Viet Nam; actively obstructing, with hundreds of others, the construction of nuclear power plants; accompanying aggrieved, impoverished campesinos facing historically repressive military threats in El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, and Palestine; facing death squads in the Philippines and Chiapas, Mexico; visiting Russia during the Cold War and again in 1991 when he joined many Russians in efforts to avert a coup ousting the reformer Mikhail Gorbachev; leading delegations to Iran creating citizen-to-citizen diplomacy; traveling over the years to the region of ex-Yugoslavia in efforts to participate in strategic nonviolent alternatives to the violence unleashed when Yugoslavia was broken up significantly due to US policies; recently protesting drone warfare with increasing numbers of others by obstructing entrances to drone bases in efforts to confront the most insidious and diabolical of all terror policies; among many, many examples of citizen power.
In the chapter, “Assault on the Tracks: Facing Violence With Love and Courage,” Hartsough describes his first-person, eyewitness account of the horrendous assault – attempted murder – that occurred at the Concord, California Naval Weapons Station on September 1, 1987—the first such account to be published, as far as I know..."
Waging Peace: A review
By Rev. Sharon Delgado
General Board of Church & Society
January 26th, 2015
"Waging Peace is a compelling autobiography that tells the story of a life-threatening encounter David had at age 20 while sitting with African American students at a “whites only” lunch counter in Arlington, Va. A man held a knife to his heart and threatened to kill him. Fortunately for David, he had already incorporated a deep inner commitment to nonviolence, and was able to respond in a way that diffused the anger of his would-be killer.
As he tells the story of his childhood, David explains what brought him to this life-threatening event, how he handled the situation. He describes how the seeds of peace were sown by his remarkable parents, how he came to understand what Jesus meant when he said to love your enemies, how he began early experiments with nonviolence, and how he came to dedicate himself to living a life consistent with his values."
Waging Peace: A review
By Robert Dockhorn
"When David Hartsough was seven years old and living in Gilman, Iowa, he was set upon by a band of older boys wielding ice balls fortified with stones. He had recently heard his father preach a sermon on Jesus’s command to “love your enemies.” Awed by this message, he mustered up the courage to tell the boys that he wanted to become their friends. Eventually they lost interest in picking on a boy who wouldn’t fight back, and they wandered off. Later, David gave a prized possession to the band’s leader, and a friendship ensued. For David, this reinforced his courage and initiated a lifetime of practicing nonviolence.
In Waging Peace, Hartsough recounts how he received early instruction from others in various tools of nonviolence, resulting in his organizing his first vigil at age 15 at a Nike missile site not far his family home in Tanguy Homesteads, a cooperative community near Philadelphia, Pa. By 1960, while he was a student at Howard University, he had advanced to taking part in a sit-in to desegregate a People’s Drug Store lunch counter in Arlington, Va., an experience that tested his capacity to endure abuse.
The ordinary, extraordinary life of David Hartsough
By Ken Butigan
November 12th, 2014
These ruminations came back to me as I plunged into the pages of David Hartsough’s new memoir, “Waging Peace: Global Adventures of a Lifelong Activist.” David has been a friend for 30 years, and over that time I’ve rarely seen him pass up a chance to jump into the latest fray with both feet — something he’d been doing long before we met, as his book attests. For nearly six decades he’s been organizing for nonviolent change — with virtually every campaign, eventually getting tangled up with one risky nonviolent action after another. Therefore one might be tempted to surmise that David is yet another frantic activist on the perennial edge of burnout. Just reading his book, with its relentless kaleidoscope of civil resistance on many continents, can be dizzying — what must it have been like to live it? If anyone would qualify for not living the ordinary life, it would seem to be David Hartsough.Read more | Buy book now | Download e-Book now | Back to reviews | Back to top
Giants on the Earth: A Review
By Winslow Myers
The fear that we citizens of the United States have been seduced into since 9/11 spreads across our benighted nation like a fog, inhibiting all policy alternatives not based in blind vengefulness. Special are those who have the spiritual clear-sightedness and persistence to make people-oriented global connections that pierce the fog of fear with the light of visionary possibility.
One such giant is David Hartsough, whose vivid, even hair-raising, memoir of a lifetime of peace activism, Waging Peace: Global Adventures of a Lifelong Activist, has just been published by PM press. It ought to be required reading for every U.S. citizen befogged by the crude polarization between Islamic extremism and the equally violent, ineffective, but seemingly endless Western military reaction it has elicited.