This is the memoir of Harry R Van Dyck, one of the nearly twelve thousand men who were thrust into hastily organised Civilian Public Service (CPS) camps during World War Two. Van Dyck, whose Mennonite heritage was the foundation of his conscientious objector status, spent nearly four years in the CPS. He experienced the numerous scenes of adventure, drama, and humour that made up daily life in the camps for a heterogeneous collection of men whose only common bond was their "exercise of conscience". This memoir examines the principles, motives, and dilemmas of the pacifist, out of step with a society intensely engaged in a popular war, raising issues that are of concern to all who are interested in peace in our time. The COs story is not without significance; Van Dyck's compelling narrative captures the ambience of this unique time and place and illuminates an important portion of American history.
Harry R. Van Dyck was a professor of sociology at the University of North Texas. He is the author of numerous articles on social psychology and sociobiology.