S. Brian Willson

S. Brian Willson

S. Brian Willson was born on U.S. Independence Day in 1941 to a conservative religious family in rural New York. A good student and athlete, he was conscripted into the military from graduate school in 1966 and by 1969 was commander of a USAF combat security unit in Viet Nam. A trained lawyer and criminologist, and one-time member of the Washington, D.C. Bar, he has been an advocate for prisoners, Viet Nam veterans, and impoverished people around the world striving for justice. As an activist, he has been a conscientious tax refuser, participated in water-only fasts and various civil (dis)obedience actions, and led delegations documenting U.S. aggressions in a number of countries.

As a result of a lengthy veterans’ fast in 1986, he and the other fasters were identified as domestic terrorist suspects. One year later, on September 1, 1987, while engaging in a well publicized blockade protesting weapons shipments to El Salvador and Nicaragua, he was run over and nearly killed by a U.S. government munitions train accelerating to three times its 5 mph limit. He lost both legs below the knee and suffered a fractured skull requiring insertion of a permanent protective plate. He continues to walk his talk against U.S. domestic and foreign imperial policies on two prosthetic legs and a three-wheeled arm-powered handcycle, as he strives for right livelihood and a simpler lifestyle. His 1992 book, On Third World Legs, is out of print.

Blood on the Tracks: Life And Times of S. Brian Wilson

Blood on the Tracks: Life And Times of S. Brian Wilson

SKU: 9781604864212
Author: S. Brian Willson • Introduction by Daniel Ellsberg
Publisher: PM Press
ISBN: 9781604864212
Published: 7/2011
Format: Paperback, ePub, PDF, mobi
Size: 9 x 6
Page count: 536
Subjects: Biography, Politics-Activism, U.S. History


“I was busted with Brian, but I never gave the ultimate as he gave. This book is about a patriot, the kind of patriot you don’t find anymore, the kind of patriot who loves and believes in his country so much he surrendered his legs in telling his country it’s wrong. Read this book.” —Edward Asner, actor

“Brian Willson’s courage, compassion, and commitment to fighting for freedom, and justice, and human rights is an inspiration to the rest of us and a lesson in how to handle Adjustments in our Plans.” —Kris Kristofferson, actor, songwriter

“Brian Willson’s courage, integrity, and dedication to peace and justice and to a sustainable society have been an inspiration to all of those who seek to change the course on which we are lurching towards destruction. His memoir should be read and pondered, and its lessons should be taken to heart by those who hope to create a more decent world.” —Noam Chomsky

“Brian Willson has lived one of the more interesting and inspiring lives of any peace activist in recent American history. His story deserves to be read and absorbed by people of all persuasions: militarists as well as anti-militarists.” —Peter Dale Scott, author of The War Conspiracy

“No one has gone deeper into the heart of American militarism and moral despair than Brian Willson, paying an immeasurable cost, only to come out intact on the other side. His brilliant extended  reflection not only gives us light but also hope:  this is what it means to be an upright human being in a world of violence and lies.  He can’t be stopped! Thank God Brian Willson has written his story:  we Americans need it desperately.” —Mark Rudd, author of Underground: My Life with SDS and the Weathermen 

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