Conscientious objectors as protagonists in fiction

Norris (
Tue, 16 Feb 1999 11:04:14 -0500

My name is Robert Norris. I was a conscientious objector in the military
in 1970 and refused my orders to go to Southeast Asia. I was
court-martialed and spent time in a military prison. I have lived and
taught English in Japan since 1983. Currently I am an associate
professor at Fukuoka International University.

Since my first novel "Looking for the Summer" was published in 1996 I
have been asked on several occasions to do a presentation on the issue
of conscientious objection. There are a number of academic groups in
Japan focusing on the social history and literature of the 1960s. They
seem to be quite interested in making a connection between conscientious
objection and Japan's peace constitution. In particular, these scholars
are interested in the experiences of secular COs, those who have
resisted on moral and philosophical grounds rather than on religious

I have often been asked to provide information about novels that have a
conscientious objector as the main protagonist (or one of the main
protagonists). I am also considering doing a research paper. There are
plenty of non-fiction books and articles on the issue, but aside from my
own novel, "The Brothers K" by David James Duncan, and "The Climate of
the Country," a new novel by Marnie Mueller (listed as published Feb.
1999 in, I know of no other titles.

I am hoping that there might be some SIXTIES-L readers who can help me
find other works of fiction that have a CO as one of the main
protagonists. Thanks.

Robert Norris