A LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER, ROBERT ELLSBERG - May 2016
This month would have marked the 95th birthday of Father Daniel Berrigan, an acclaimed poet, a courageous witness for nonviolence and general disturber of the “false peace.” We looked forward to marking this occasion with the publication of The Berrigan Letters: Personal Correspondence Between Daniel and Philip Berrigan, edited by Daniel Cosacchi and Eric Martin. Visiting him last month in the Fordham nursing home where he was confined over the last years, I was pleased to present him with a copy of the bound galleys. Alas, with his death on April 30, this book serves as an epitaph to a remarkable life.
Dan and Phil Berrigan were famous, of course, for their part in destroying draft files in 1968 as part of the Catonsville 9 protest against the Vietnam War. That action and their subsequent imprisonment was only one chapter in their tireless work for peace and justice. And that work was rooted in a remarkable personal bond. Over a period of seven decades, they wrote each other almost every week. Their letters reflect not only their common hopes and dreams, but also their intense devotion to one another and unbending faith in the face of great adversity. For all who have shared any part of their journey, this book is an event and a great gift. (It joins three other Berrigan titles on the Orbis shelf: Daniel Berrigan: Essential Writings and Testimony, both edited by John Dear, and The Raft Is Not the Shore, conversations between Daniel Berrigan and Thich Nhat Hanh.)