Burglar for Peace: Lessons Learned in the Catholic Left’s Resistance to the Vietnam War


Burglar for Peace: Lessons Learned in the Catholic Left’s Resistance to the Vietnam War  (4008)

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Author: Ted Glick; Foreword: Frida Berrigan/PM Press/Size: 6 x 9/288 pages


Burglar for Peace is the incredible story of the Catholic Left—also known as the Ultra Resistance—from the late 1960s to the early ‘70s. Led by the Catholic priests Phil and Dan Berrigan, the Catholic Left quickly became one of the most important sectors of the Vietnam War–era peace movement after a nonviolent raid on a draft board in Catonsville, MD, in May 1968.

With an overview of the broader draft resistance movement, Burglar for Peace is an exploration of the sweeping landscape of the American Left during the Vietnam War era as we accompany Ted Glick on a journey through his personal evolution from typical, white, middle-class, American teenager to an antiwar, nonviolent draft resister. Glick vividly recounts the development of the Catholic Left as it organized scores of nonviolently disruptive, effective actions inside draft boards, FBI offices, war corporation offices, and other sites. Burglar for Peace is the first in-depth, inside look at one of the major political trials of Catholic Left activists, in Rochester, NY, in 1970, as well as a second one in 1972 in Harrisburg, PA. With great humility, Glick recalls how his selfless devotion to ending the war in Vietnam resulted in his eleven months of imprisonment, which included a thirty-four-day hunger strike, and he tells the remarkable story of a Catholic Left-organized, forty-day hunger strike against the war. Concluding the story is a reflective account of Glick’s open resignation from the Catholic Left in 1974, his eighteen-year estrangement from Phil and Dan Berrigan, and the eventual healing of that relationship. The final chapter relates timeless lessons learned by the author that will find deep resonance among activists today.

Burglar for Peace will serve as both an inspiration and an invaluable resource for those committed to transformational, revolutionary change.



“Ted Glick’s Burglar for Peace tells a remarkable story of one man’s lifelong commitment to peace and social justice. His story is revealing, honest and self-critical, as he has obviously thought deeply about his actions and the movements of which he was a prominent member. Burglar for Peace is an engaging and most welcome addition to the literature on the war in Vietnam and the movement that tried to stop it.”
—Bruce Dancis, author of Resister: A Story of Protest and Prison During the Vietnam War

“Many of us know about Dan and Phil Berrigan, the amazing priests who poured blood or napalm on draft files, but we have forgotten the hundreds of others who made up the radical Catholic movement that they led, and their colleagues from other faiths: the ‘Ultra-Resistance’ to the war in Vietnam. Ted Glick, though not a Catholic, was in the midst of this movement, burglarizing FBI offices, destroying draft files, standing trial several times, serving prison sentences, going on long hunger strikes. This book, part memoir and part collection of documents, is an irreplaceable source not only for historians but for many others who want to know what it was like to be a Christian outlaw. The transcripts of the Flower City Conspiracy trial alone are worth the price of the book.”
—Michael Ferber, co-author The Resistance and one of the Boston Five indicted in 1968 for supporting draft resistance

“This book offers outsiders a comprehensive understanding of the movement to destroy Selective Service records during the Vietnam War. Especially valuable are the extracts from Ted Glick’s diaries which help readers, who have not themselves gone without food or nourishing liquids for weeks at a time, to assess this form of nonviolent struggle. Also of great value are accounts by Ted and colleagues who as criminal defendants argued their own cases in court, sometimes inducing a judge to let the accused testify as to why they had acted as they did and reaching jurors who, although initially hostile, came to sympathize with and even support defendants who broke laws that protect property in pursuit of the greater goal of safeguarding human lives.”
—Staughton Lynd, chairperson of the first march on Washington DC to protest the Vietnam War, with Tom Hayden he made an unauthorized trip to North Vietnam in hope of clarifying the terms on which the government in Hanoi might be willing to enter peace talks

“Ted Glick offers us a window into aspects of the past that routinely remain closed and foggy—history that media outlets rarely mention—the inner life and outer actions of people so committed to peace that they’re willing to make enormous sacrifices to end war. For more than five decades he has strived for deep awareness in real time while considering ‘what are the most effective forms of action for today.’ We cannot know profound answers unless we’re willing to intensely explore profound questions. By sharing his own experiences, Ted Glick will help readers to go deeper in the quest to understand what we care about most and how we truly want to live as a result.”
—Norman Solomon, author of War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death

“A hero in the country’s history of fighting for social justice recounts in gripping detail the courageous, sometimes high risk but always nonviolent battles he and other committed patriots of the peace movement fought to put an end to the disastrous war in Vietnam. This is the story of a principled freedom fighter—the cause driving him to go so far as to creep through a dark and forbidden place to protect his fellow young men—then stand as a defendant in the glare of political trials, and finally do time behind bars in his unyielding effort to save lives and bring our country back to its senses. Ted is the epitome of an American activist hero—unrelenting, inspiring, giving everything he’s got. Now as the climate crisis deepens, Ted recounts the challenges at the center of this ongoing disaster. Though hopeful America’s youth are rising, he warns we are running out of time. Read, learn and feel the urgent call to action now by this personal, unique account of perilous times.”
—Lise Van Susteren, M.D., board certified psychiatrist, CEO of Lucky Planet Foods, and a leader of Interfaith Moral Action on Climate

“Ted Glick’s Burglar for Peace tells a story that very few people have heard, and they should. The activities of the Catholic Left during the Vietnam War played an important role in bringing that war to an end. Glick’s inside history of that sector of the anti-war movement is history that needs to be learned widely. This is especially true today when we are facing Trump and a Republican Party that harkens back to the worst days of the Nixon Administration, taken on, very much to their credit, by the Catholic Left.”
—Ed Asner (U.S. actor who has performed in numerous TV shows, plays, and movies since the 1950s and former president of the Screen Actors Guild)

“Ted Glick’s story of his experiences taking risks to end the Vietnam War, his political trials and his time in prison 50 years ago make compelling reading. Prison was a turning point in my life, and Glick’s story reveals something similar. His story and commitment that resonate throughout it is only another witness to a piece of the American soul we as Americans all share—and that is—that we love democracy, we honor truth, we despise lies and dictatorship, but we call upon ourselves to dig deep into our hearts for that courage to take the first step from our comfort zone, then another step out the door, to greet the world and fight for it, open-armed, embracing all that is good about our humanity and lives and fighting, with every ounce of faith we can endure, for our right to be happy and just and fair and for our right to call each other, regardless of skin color or ethnicity or religion, brothers and sisters!”
—Jimmy Santiago Baca, award-winning American poet and author of A Place to Stand

“This is a book from a movement veteran who has made history and helps us learn lessons on how we can make history that is more just, sustainable and democratic. This is a book from the heart, to move our minds and hands into action.”
—Heather Booth, chair, Midwest Academy

“In Burglar for Peace, Ted Glick uses his remarkable personal story to capture a pivotal moment in the history of U.S. social movements. His journey embodies many of the values and practices we urgently need now: courage, humility, and an abiding faith that our different struggles can unite in common purpose.”
—Naomi Klein, author of No Is Not Enough and This Changes Everything

“Burglar for Peace is a blessing, a hope, and a way of acknowledging the sacredness of those whom we encounter, why this journey is difficult, the hills we must climb, and the reasons we dedicate our lives to justice. What makes Ted such an important author and pivotal leader is his understanding that we need an environmental movement that includes everybody and we must be willing to sacrifice everything for future generations.”
—Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., president of the Hip Hop Caucus

About the Contributors:

Ted Glick has been a progressive activist, organizer, and writer since 1968. He was imprisoned for eleven months for his draft resistance activities during the Vietnam War. He has been active in the independent progressive politics movement since 1975 and since 2003 has been a national leader in the climate justice movement.

Frida Berrigan is a contributor to TomDispatch.Com and writes the Little Insurrections blog for WagingNonviolence.org. She helped to found the group Witness Against Torture and long served on the National Committee of the War Resisters League. She grew up at Jonah House, the Christian resistance community founded by Phil Berrigan and Elizabeth McAlister in Baltimore. She lives in New London, Connecticut with her husband and three children, where she works in community gardens and a community land trust. She is the author of It Runs in the Family.