Annotated Bibliography

Annotated Bibliography

Brock, Peter. Pacifism in the United States: From the Colonial Era to the First World War. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1968.

Brock’s work is the most detailed history of pacifism in existence. Though it ends with the First World War, it provides an excellent background for all forms of peace activism, antiwar activities, and conscientious objection.


Chambers, John Whiteclay, II. To Raise an Army: The Draft Comes to Modern America. New York: The Free Press, 1987.

In this history of the draft, Chambers mainly discusses the draft during World War I. Within its pages are some excellent discussions of conscientious objectors and the harsh treatment of them during the war.


Clifford, J. Garry, and Samuel R. Spencer, Jr. The First Peacetime Draft. Lawrence: The University Press of Kansas, 1986.

Clifford and Spencer’s argument is how elites (Grenville Clark and his fellow Plattsburgers) exerted influence on the federal government to institute conscription in 1940. There are some discussion of COs and their advocates lobbying on their behalf during the legislative process.


Cottrell, Robert C. Smokejumpers of the Civilian Public Service in World War II: Conscientious Objectors as Firefighters for the National Forest Service. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2006.

Cottrell provides a collection of individual stories about the men who served as smokejumpers in CPS Unit #103, the same unit as Mark Matthews’ book, listed below.


Eisan, Leslie. Pathways of Peace: A History of the Civilian Public Service Program as Administered by the Brethren Service Committee. Elgin, IL: Brethren Publishing House, 1948.

Eisan’s work is the Brethren’s official history of CPS, discussing an overall picture of the experience and the camps administered by the Brethren Service Committee.


Flynn, George Q. The Draft: 1940-1973. Lawrence: The University Press of Kansas, 1986.

Although Flynn discusses the draft until the end of conscription in 1973, he offers some keen insights into the Selective Service, conscientious objectors, and Civilian Public Service during World War II.


Gingerich, Melvin. Service for Peace: A History of Mennonite Civilian Public Service. Akron, PA: Mennonite Central Committee, 1949.

Gingerich’s work is the Mennonites’ official history of Civilian Public Service as administered by the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC). He discusses the broader implications and dynamics involved in conscientious objection, along with the camps administered by the MCC.


Goossen, Rachel Waltner. Women Against the Good War: Conscientious Objection and Gender on the American Homefront, 1941-1947. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1997.

Goossen’s book focuses on the women involved in CPS. This includes the experience of CO wives and girlfriends along with staff women and “CO Girls” who volunteered to serve in CPS. She examines gender and conscientious objection in a broad sense, but a majority of the work centers on the Mennonite experience.


Keim, Albert. The CPS Story: An Illustrated History of Civilian Public Service. Intercourse, PA: Good Books, 1990.

Keim offers an excellent introductory work to CPS. The large number of photographs and quality of basic information make this a wonderful resource for anyone seeking to gain an understanding of the CPS experience.


Keim, Albert and Grant Stolzfus. The Politics of Conscience: The Historic Peace Churches and America at War, 1917-1955. Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1988.

Keim and Stolzfus discuss the issues surrounding conscription, conscientious objection, and alternative service during the first half of the twentieth century. Of particular value are their examinations of the poor treatment during World War I, Civilian Public Service, and the I-W program instituted during the early Cold War.


Kovac, Jeffrey. Refusing War, Affirming Peace: A History of Civilian Public Service Camp #21 at Cascade Locks. Corvallis: Oregon State University Press, 2009.

In this book, Kovac focuses on a single CPS work camp, rather than the program as a whole. Camp #21, administered by the Brethren Service Committee, was one of the largest camps that turned out to be one of the most effectively operated in the entire CPS program. Kovac utilizes letters from his father-in-law (who was assigned to the camp), camp publications, and the artistic life of #21 in providing an examination of life in a CPS work camp.


Krehbiel, Nicholas A.  General Lewis B. Hershey and Conscientious Objection during World War II. Columbia: University of Missouri Press (forthcoming November 2011).

Krehbiel examines Civilian Public Service and the concept of alternative service through the lens of General Lewis Hershey, Director of Selective Service from 1941-1970.  He argues that Hershey's concept of a national duty of service coupled with a belief in religious rights shaped the service dynamic in CPS and continued throughout the remaining years of conscription.


Kreider, Robert. “The Historic Peace Churches Meeting in 1935.” Mennonite Life 31, no. 2 (June 1976): 21-24.

Kreider outlines the specifics of the 1935 meeting of the Historic Peace Churches in Newton, KS and its significance in creating a more cooperative relationship between them.


Matthews, Mark. Smoke Jumping on the Western Fire Line: Conscientious Objection During World War II. Foreword by Senator George McGovern. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2006.

Smoke Jumping was one of the most exciting and dangerous possibilities that a CO could undertake while working in the CPS forestry camps. Here, Matthews provides an overview of the efforts of the CPS men who fought forest fires in the American West and weaves a heroic tale of their efforts. His focus is on the same unit as Cottrell’s book, listed above.


Sareyan, Alex. The Turning Point: How Men of Conscience Brought About Major Change in the Care of America’s Mentally Ill. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Press, 1994.

Sareyan examines the mental health units of CPS and how the reforms undertaken by the men in the hospitals and the subsequent changes in mental health care were of profound importance in the care of the mentally ill in the United States.


Taylor, Steven J. Acts of Conscience: World War II, Mental Institutions, and Religious Objectors. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2009.

Taylor provides a general account of Civilian Public Service as a part of his main focus, which examines the reforms initiated by the actions of CPS men who served in mental hospital units as a part of their alternative service. He cites this era as having a lasting impact on the reforms of mental health care in the United States.


Tucker, Todd. The Great Starvation Experiment: The Heroic Men Who Starved So That Millions Could Live. New York: Free Press, 2006.

Tucker is the only author to date that has produced a book on the “Guinea Pig Units” in CPS. However, his focus is on one specific study rather than the testing program or CPS as a whole. In this work, he concentrates on the starvation experiment undertaken at the University of Minnesota under the direction of Dr. Ancel Keyes, which studied the effects of starvation on the human body.


Sibley, Mulford Quickert and Philip Jacob. Conscription of Conscience: The American State and the Conscientious Objector, 1940-1947. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1952.

Sibley and Jacob’s book is the standard volume on conscientious objection during World War II. They discuss all aspects of the World War II experience, including the jailed absolutists, Civilian Public Service, the Historic Peace Churches, and the federal government.


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