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Conscience It is not surprising that the World War I experiences of Norman Thomas 1884 1968 form a major part of Louisa Thomas' new book This long lived peace advocate was after all the author's great grandfather and a six time Socialist presidential candidate Conscience does pay due attention to her forebear but it also traces the parallel stories of his three brothers Two of them answered President Woodrow Wilson's call to war by becoming soldiers; Norman and his brother Evan both became conscientious objectors This thoughtful group biography reveals how four members of one remarkable family coped with the moral complexities of responsibilities and beliefs An extraordinary microhistory of a conscientious period in American history


10 thoughts on “Conscience

  1. says:

    Louisa Thomas writes of her Great Grandfather and periennal Socialist Party candidate for President Norman Thomas and his three brothers responses to the first World War Norman and his brother Evan objected while Ralph and Arthur both served Norman Thomas wasn't an unfamiliar name to me but I didn't realize he was an ordained Presbyterian Minister and establishment e


  2. says:

    This book is about conscientious objection and the anti war movement in America and tangentially in the UK during World War I It's also about the socialist movement in America during that era If you are interested in these topics as I am you might find the book worth reading The presentation of President Wilson's leveraging of jingoism racism and xenophobia and his su


  3. says:

    Louisa Thomas tells the story of the Thomas family focusing primarily on the oldest of four brothers Norman her great grandfather I enjoyed the book for several reasons First it was interesting to learn about the four brothers and the choices they made The two younger ones joined the military in World War I one spent much of the war in prison for his refusal to join th


  4. says:

    I was intrigued by the idea of four brothers all raised within the same home who chose such different paths when their country went to war I wanted to know by what process of decision making did they arrive at their own decision to either fight or object? Both positions reuired courage in WWI America And though the book provided copious detail regarding their actions an


  5. says:

    I came across this title while reading another book on pacifists in England during WW I Having been a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War myself I was interested in reading Thomas' book as well I think the title is a bit of a misnomer It refers to 'two pacifists and two soldiers' But the two Thomas brothers who were soldiers in the War are not given anywhere near e


  6. says:

    Interesting in a lot of ways but very dry I would've loved to have seen life on the page and less uoting from letters Perhaps it should've focused solely on Norman's biography and saved just a chapter for his brothers and WW1 instead of the other way around


  7. says:

    Good book; ironic how closely it compares to the national landscape today Very interesting on how alot of the national movements happened during this period of unrest during WWI and beyond Fascinating history on the origins of the draft in America


  8. says:

    great account of a couple of heroes i didn’t know that much about


  9. says:

    How does a pious young Presbyterian minister become a six time candidate for the Socialist party? Such is the story of Conscience the story of Norman Thomas and his younger brother Evan who would go to seminary as conventional Presbyterians and emerge radicals whose faith found truer expression in political idealism than Christian worship The promised tension between brother


  10. says:

    A rare nonfiction read for me outside of work The premise intrigued me a family in which two brothers are pacifists and two join up to fight in WWI On that score I found it a bit of a disappointment There's not really much family drama here though it is heartening to see that the sharply divided family even the two pacifists were sharply divided on many issues managed to main


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