I Refuse: Memories of a Vietnam War Objector

Donald L. Simons, Author Broken Rifle Press $27.5 (184p) ISBN 978-0-9620024-2-7
During the Vietnam War the author was a graduate student at West Virginia University, a conservative spot in a conservative state. No longtime protestor, Simons began to think about opposing the war after hearing war resister Dr. Benjamin Spock and learning of a soldier friend's death. The book describes, in numbing, blow-by-blow detail, Simons's trip through the Selective Service bureaucracy (he inflates his travails: ``the ordeal of mass physical examination''), his visit to a draft counselor, his attempt to seek a conscientous objector exemption, his arrest for refusing induction (``Incarceration seemed certain'' before his father came up with bail), his court case (complete with excerpts of legal documents) and his temporary, alienating exile in Canada. Simons, now a freelance writer, describes himself as an opponent of all wars yet hardly fleshes out his pacifism. His story is neither exceptional nor eloquent, and his attempts to blend national and world history with his personal struggle are awkward. Some readers, however, may profit from his final advice: ``If your heart tells you that it is wrong to kill, then refuse to do it.'' (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
Paperback - 184 pages - 978-0-9620024-3-4
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