COMMITMENT by Willard Uphaus


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The life story of Willard Uphaus, jailed for contempt in refusing to provide the names of the guests at the World Fellowship Center for investigation by Attorney General Wyman of New Hampshire, is a sincere self-appraisal in terms of conscience and circumstance. Born in Muncle, Indiana, in 1890, Uphaus looks back to what brought him in 1959 to Boscawen jail -- the decision to withhold information which he felt would only lead to harm for friends -- and the steps in a life that led to this decision. His home training (his father said, ""Man does not have a soul. He is a living soul.""), his religious education rerouted to the teaching profession (an education hardily earned in that time and place), his years as executive secretary to the Religion and Labor Foundation, essentially a civic relations organization, his speech at the Second World Peace Congress and visit to Russia, all led to his investigation as head of the World Fellowship Center. The main part of the book is devoted to his investigation by Wyman, the upholding of the decision against him even to the Supreme Court (with the Chief Justice, Justices Black, Douglas dissenting with Justice Brennan), his imprisonment in jail where he made new friends both inside and out as his case became a cause celebre, and finally, freedom with an increased and extended sense of commitment. A manifesto for the stand of the individual conscience facing the pressure of the times in a recognizable American tradition that calls for recognition.

Pub Date: May 29th, 1963
Publisher: McGraw-Hill