A Few Small Candles
War Resisters of World War II
1999, 224 pp
courtesy of our partner, Atlas Books
Little is known about those who openly refused to enter military service in World War II because of their convictions against killing. While many of those men accepted alternative civilian service, more than 6,000 were incarcerated with sentences ranging from a few months to five years. Some were tried, convicted, and reimprisoned for essentially the same offense—resisting induction into the armed forces—after their initial release.
In A Few Small Candles, ten men tell why they resisted, what happened to them, and how they feel about that experience today. Their stories detail the resisters’ struggles against racial segregation in prison, as well as how they instigated work and hunger strikes to demonstrate against other prison injustices. Each of the ten has remained active in various causes relating to peace and social justice.
This is a unique collection of memoirs that illuminated the American homefront during World War II and provides an important source for those interested in the American peace movement.
Larry Gara, a historian, teacher, and part-time activist, lives with his wife, Lenna Mae Gara, a freelance writer and community activist, in Wilmington, Ohio, where he retired from Wilmington College after 40 years in the classroom. He is concerned that the record of active nonviolence becomes more visible as an important part of U.S. history.