In the service of their country : War resisters in prison by Willard Gaylin
New York : The Viking Press, 1970. First Edition. Hardcover. 344 pages ; 22 cm. $6.95 dust jacket with minimal wear. Musty odor within pages. Foxing to pages side edges. Pages are unmarked. Binding is firm.
"In the Service of Their Country is a moving account of the feelings and motives and hopefulness and hopelessness of the imprisoned war resisters. Every American who silently assents when a voice is raised against the war ought to read this book." —JULIAN BOND
This extraordinary account of Selective Service violators who chose jail rather than deferment or exile is based on Dr. Gaylin's two-year research project intended originally as a scientific study. Using psychoanalytic techniques, he interviewed twenty-six white and black imprisoned war resisters to determine who they were, why they went to prison, and what effects it had on them. Of these interviews, which were taped to preserve an undistorted record, Dr. Gaylin writes: "When I started the project... I had no idea of publishing a book for the general reader. My interest was purely intellectual, not emotional. But then I had not met these young men. I had not seen the walls of a prison, I had not measured the brevity of time in which youth can be lost and hope abandoned. I came as an observer and left as a participant. My involvement with these men has enriched me, and because of the tapes (with their words intact—often un-literary and always honest) I am able to offer the same privilege to others—to share the passion, the sacrifice, the witness of some men of principle."
Each of six chapters deals with a single war resister, revealed to Dr. Gaylin through a series of six to eight interviews. Excerpts from the tapes of the entire group confirm the statistical data on the wide diversity of their political and social backgrounds. The final chapter discloses how "justice" is meted out to war resisters by our democratic society and ends with a parable that lays bare the insanity of imprisonment for a crime of conscience.
DR. WILLARD GAYLIN, a training and supervising psychoanalyst at the Columbia Psychoanalytic Clinic, is also an associate professor of psychiatry at Columbia University's medical school and adjunct professor at the Union Theological Seminary. He lives in Hastings-on-Hudson and has a private practice in New York. Dr. Gaylin is also a founding member and president of the new Institute of Society, Ethics, and the Life Sciences, organized to foster social responsibility among behavioral scientists.
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