Synopses & Reviews
After serving in the Vietnam War, S. Brian Willson became a radical, nonviolent peace protester and pacifist, and this memoir details the drastic governmental and social change he has spent his life fighting for. Chronicling his personal struggle with a government he believes to be unjust, Willson sheds light on the various incarnations of his protests of the U.S. government, including the refusal to pay taxes, public fasting, and, most famously, public obstruction. On September 1, 1987, Willson was run over by a U.S. government munitions train during a nonviolent blocking action in which he expected to be removed from the tracks. Providing a full look into the tragic event, Willson, who lost his legs in the incident, discusses how the subsequent publicity propelled his cause toward the national consciousness. Now, 23 years later, Willson tells his story of social injustice, nonviolent struggle, and the so-called American way of life.
"This whopping epic (published by Oakland's feisty PM Press) tells the story of a Vietnam-era soldier who entered the war as a red-blooded small-town recruit and emerged as a die-hard dissident, driven to expose and oppose not only warfare in general but also the US' unique role in spreading military terror around the world." Berkeley Daily Planet (July 12, 2011)
"Blood On the Tracks is the story of one man's attempt to change the direction of that machine (America) or, failing in that, preventing it from working at all." www.counterpunch.org (July 18, 2011)
"[Willson's] 440-page book traces his journey from high school baseball star in Ashville, N.Y., to Air Force captain in Vietnam to antiwar figure - and on to today, when he says his most important message is that 'we have to all live more simply, because our lifestyle in America is totally unsustainable.'" San Francisco Chronicle (July 18, 2011)
"One lesson (from the book) is the importance of 'finding your own tracks and taking a stand there.' . . . Brian did so by taking this action 'in person:' using the most powerful symbol at his disposal, his vulnerable, resilient, determined, and spirited body." www.WagingNonviolence.org (September 2011)
"Blood on the Tracks reveals a thoughtful, reflective man who does not shy away from facing difficult truths about what we have made of our world." —Peace News, UK (November 25, 2011)
Examining the complicated and sometimes controversial history, goals, and tactics of anticapitalist movements, this compilation focuses on the meaning of the movement as a whole and examines the protests that surrounded global trade and political conferences such as the 1999 World Trade Organization meetings in Seattle and the ongoing G8 summits around the world. The collection offers a broad vision of anticapitalist activism as well as strategies for instigating change, not only for the individual, but also for the collective. Featuring popular culture references, humor, poetry, and essays, this analysis of the counter-summit movement is ideal for those wanting to explore new possibilities for mobilization in the midst of crisis.
About the Author
S. Brian Willson is a Vietnam veteran and nonviolent pacifist. He lives in Portland, Oregon. Daniel Ellsberg is a former U.S. military analyst who released the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times and other newspapers. He lives in San Francisco.