UNCOMMON MARTYRS by Fred Wilcox

UNCOMMON MARTYRS

The Plowshares Movement and the Catholic Left

KIRKUS REVIEW

 The sympathetic portraits Wilcox (Waiting for an Army to Die, 1983) paints of the Plowshares members are as flowery as the Volkswagens they drove in the 1960's, but do offer a glimpse into the hears of those on the cutting edge of the religious antinuclear movement. Wilcox profiles brothers Philip and Daniel Berrigan and lesser-known members of the Plowshares movement, named after the biblical command to ``beat swords into plowshares.'' He lays out their religious beliefs, their family histories, and their prior work in social-justice issues to explain how they came to risk long prison terms to ``symbolically disarm'' nuclear hardware. For Lin Romano--a housing advocate who once seized a priest's microphone and pleaded (unsuccessfully) with parishioners to allow the homeless to sleep inside the church during a cold snap, the decision to break into the Willow Grove Navel Air Station and pour her own blood over the controls of a P-3 Orion aircraft-- came from a growing desire to ``resist the very root of the evil.'' Wilcox often extrapolates from historical record to include statements that academics might have made if they had been allowed to testify for the Plowshare defendants; hypothetical trivial-pursuit cards about the movement; and an eerie description of what would have happened if one of the protesters had been shot while climbing the fence into Willow Grove. Wilcox's tribute would have been more successful had he stuck to the activists' own cogent explanations of why they resist the ``false worship of nuclear weapons,'' and omitted his own rather odd interpretations.

Pub Date: May 16th, 1991
ISBN: 0-201-52231-4
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Addison-Wesley
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1991