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Refusing War, Affirming Peace

A History of Civilian Public Service Camp #21 at Cascade Locks

Jeffrey Kovac

6 × 9 inches. B&W photographs. Bibliography. Appendix. Index. 192 pages.

2009. ISBN 978-0-87071-575-4. Paperback, $21.95.

One of the untold stories of America’s World War II experience belongs to the thousands who refused military service for reasons of conscience, instead serving their country through non-military alternate service. Refusing War, Affirming Peace offers an intimate view of a single Civilian Public Service Camp, Camp #21 at Cascade Locks, Oregon, one of the largest and longest-serving camps in the system—and one of the most unusual.

Under the leadership of a remarkable director, Rev. Mark Y. Schrock, and some outstanding camp leaders, the men at Camp #21 created a vibrant community. Despite the requisite long days of physical labor, the men developed a strong educational program, published a newspaper and a literary magazine, produced plays and concerts, and participated in a special school and research project called the School of Pacifist Living. They also challenged the Selective Service System in two political protests—one concerning the threatened removal of a Japanese American, George Yamada, and a second concerning a war-related work project. Their story shows the CPS system at its best.

Jeffrey Kovac’s thorough research has resulted in one of the very few histories of a single Civilian Public Service Camp, shedding light on a generation of men who, during the “good war,” created a community for peace. Refusing War is an important contribution to World War II history, peace studies, and the history of the Pacific Northwest.

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