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Every War Has Two Losers: William Stafford on Peace and War Paperback – October 20, 2003

4.7 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"...Reams of relentlessly honest notes about war and peace." -- Portland Magazine, Spring 2004

We could do worse than pay attention to voices like Stafford's--which insist on patience and tact in whatever we do. -- Christian Century, April 6, 2004
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Milkweed Editions; 1 edition (October 20, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1571312730
  • ISBN-13: 978-1571312730
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,097,215 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As a review of this book, I offer only that after reading less than a third of it, I ordered additional copies to give away to others. I can't think of another time that I have done this. Expect to be prodded by humor and deep thinking, and moved to joy and tears by Stafford's reflections on war and peace.
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Format: Paperback
Poet William Stafford was born in 1914, and was a Masters student at the University of Kansas when World War II broke out. Based on his lifelong beliefs, partially inherited from his pacifist mother, he got Conscientious Objector (CO) status and was placed in CO work camps for the duration of the war. His first writings about war and pacifism were collected in the book DOWN IN MY HEART. EVERY WAR HAS TWO LOSERS was published 10 years after Stafford's death in 1993, and is a collection of his writings and interviews which touched on peace, war and pacifism. The first part of the book consists of selections from early morning journal entries. These I found mostly trivial scribblings, with a few occasional standouts. The next part contains a few dozen poems, and was enjoyable. The last part was primarily interviews about pacifism and recollections of his CO days. Overall, my favorite parts of the book were (1) its title - which is quite a zen koan, and keeps you thinking; (2) the lovely introduction by Kim Stafford, William Stafford's son; (3) many poems, including the one that starts the volume (These Mornings); and (4) the historical value of learning about CO's during the "good war". There were apparently thousands of them. I'm very much against war myself, but people ask me: what about the Revolutionary War? What about the Civil War? What would you do about Hitler? Well, all those wars are in the past, and we can't re-fight them now. Books like this help us keep in mind what will be lost, even in a so-called "just" war, even if we "win". Stafford and other CO's present an option to choosing sides in a conflict, and make room for reconciliation and peace. I write this on July 4th, 2010, just before fireworks are lit here in San Francisco. I hope there's more peace in the world on the next July 4th.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
William Stafford has long impressed me as a very good poet, and now that I've read this book I realized that he was a very good man. A wonderful combination! I have recommended the book to relatives and friends. I recommend it to all who savor peace and want thoughts to enhance their own beliefs.
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Format: Paperback
This book, collected and edited posthumously by the author’s son Kim, is a strong and straightforward demonstration of William Stafford’s commitment to peace, reconciliation, justice, and a strong defense of his pacifist behavior during World War II and afterward. In its contents, the book (like much of Stafford’s literary work) is a combination of various materials with a thematic organization. The book, after beginning with a well-known poem “These Mornings” and an introduction by Stafford’s son, contains four unequal chunks in its main body. The first chunk is a chapter from his book Down In My Heart that deals with a time the author nearly died in a lynch mob (speaking from experience, that is not enjoyable), the second a collection of random but chronologically organized thoughts relating to war and politics called “Citizen Here On Earth,” selected from Stafford’s daily writings, the third a large body of poetry called “A Ritual To Read To Each Other” that has probably also been published elsewhere (though I had not read the collection in toto before), followed by some questions about victory notes, statements, and interviews on pacifism, followed by some thoughtful notes to some poems and a short biographical sketch of the author.

On the one hand, as a conscientious objector who has a rather ironic history when it comes to military matters myself [3], this is a book that I appreciate for its principled stance on seeking reconciliation (even though it is difficult) and seeking to avoid entanglement in the violence and injustice that fill our world.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
“You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war.” Albert Einstein. View this work with this quote in mind. Wm Stafford made the most of his "un-war" years by getting to know other humans (conscientious objectors or not) and their travails as well as commenting on his own.
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Format: Paperback
Purchased as a gift, because I so love the one I have. This is an important book. It deals not only with war, though primarily that, but along with that, it reminds us of our mutual responsibility to wage peace. In OUR lifetime.
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