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The Trial of the Catonsville Nine [Paperback]

Daniel Berrigan , Robin Andersen , James L. Marsh
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 30, 2004 0823223310 978-0823223312 4
On May 17, 1968, at the height of the Vietnam War, nine men and women entered a Selective Service office outside Baltimore. They removed military draft records, took them outside, and set them afire with napalm.The Catholic activists involved in this protest against the War included Daniel and Philip Berrigan; all were found guilt of destroying government property and sentenced to three years in jail. Dan Berrigan fled, and later turned himself in.The Berrigans and their colleagues went on to lives spent struggling against war, poverty, and injustice. And The Trial of the Catonsville Nine became a powerful expression of the conflicts between conscience and conduct, power and justice, law and morality. Drawing on court transcripts, Berrigan wrote a dramatic account of the trial and the issues it so vividly embodied. The result is a landmark work of art that been performed frequently over the past thirty five years, both as a piece of theater and a motion picture.This new edition includes Berrigan's original introduction, and additional materials by Robin Anderson and James Marsh that bring its ideas and themes up to date against the context of the war in Iraq.A wonderfully moving testament to nine consciences.- Clive Barnes, The New York TimesOne who wants to know what an authentically Christian response to the questions of our time is like would be wise to listen to Father Berrigan.-The New York Review of Books

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Editorial Reviews


"A wonderfully moving testament to nine consciences". Clive Barnes. -- The New York Times

"One who wants to know what an authentically Christian response...,listen to Father Berrigan" -- The New York Review of Books

From the Publisher

Robin Andersen is Director of the Peace and Justice Studies Program and Professor of Communications and Media Studies at Fordham, where James Marsh is Professor of Philosophy.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 142 pages
  • Publisher: Fordham University Press; 4 edition (March 30, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0823223310
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823223312
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #579,703 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
We hear this year of war all but forgotten the death of those martyrs of forty years ago, all slain violently, all who spoke strongly for peace and against our imperialist warfaring: King, Kennedy, Merton and the rest.

In May of 1968, after King and Bobby were killed with clear government complicity for opposing the war and proposing peace and justice and equality, some courageous Catholic priests arose to live our faith no matter what the consequences, to speak out for morality in the face of brutal inhumane total war which as we always do left little children burning in their beds, and starving in their streets, as we directly and diametrically opposed the direct instructions of our Christian Faith.

Here in this sacred text published by Beacon in 1970 we have a reading from the courtroom transcripts of their trial. This is also available a VHS tape at Trial of Catonsville Nine but no DVD, unfortunately.

We may distract ourselves noting how very poorly they were represented in court, particularly in the defense attorney's closing statement. We may in fact notice how the prosecution's closing was more eloquent in their defense, calling their actions reasonable and just. But mainly let us learn the theology of these actions and these true witnesses for our Faith, who upon the last day will be called forth with the words: Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant!

The prosecution concludes: "The government quite candidly admits that the position these defendants took is reasonable - as to the fact that the war is illegal, that it is immoral, that it is against religious principles (p. 100).
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5.0 out of 5 stars kudos for Dan Berrigan! June 13, 2012
Following from my memoirs on the peace movement re the Catonsville 9- from Dave Eberhardt of the Baltimore 4-
I discuss Dan's play a lot- which is the book in ? here- also later performances of it-but the following talks about the action itself from a historical point of view...
I have since erased all my crap abt the 9 becuz Sean Peter's book-The Catonsville 9- does it with the detail of some one who was there. But I have kept some of my material abt the play.

How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?- isn't the most important thing to do more actions that can change the state of things? After long pondering- turning over the "origins of the Catonsville 9" over and over like some stone with facets, I belive it was George Mische and Phil Berrigan who played the strongest roles in getting the action at Catonsville together.
Who cares? Well- a historian would rise here and say, "I care". And I have to admit- who sets history in motion, gives it a spark- and why- AND HOW- that's important!!!!!

When he visited me w George Mische in 11/'07, Tom Melville stated that George WAS the key organizer for the C 9. While attending our Baltimore 4 trial, one of the prosecutors jacked up the damage done to the files by the blood so that it would be a felony- (I believe it had to be over 500 dollars). Our lawyer asked- "couldn't the files have been washed off? " And then, "you mean to say you don't have duplicates of these files?" No. "You mean that if I took a match to a file it would be gone forever?"

"One of those cartoon light bulbs went off in my head"- George says. This has the ring of authenticity!

Tom (again, 11/'07) describes a meeting where the C-9 action was discussed and a vote taken and out of some 40 persons, many raised their hands.
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