Welcome to the website of Richard Gould's book,
Refusal To Submit
To find out where to buy, see bottom of this page.
Refusal to Submit is a memoir and historical record that documents the draft resistance movement and a young man’s coming of age during the Vietnam War. Author Richard Gould details his decision to refuse to be drafted into the U.S. army and the events that follow―his arrest, trial, and eventual imprisonment in a federal prison in Safford, Arizona. As his story unfolds, the origins of the war and his reasons for opposing it emerge, placing his prison experience within the larger framework of the historical events occurring on a national and global scale.
Through personal narrative, interviews with fellow draft resisters, and meticulous research on the war itself, Gould unveils a complex and multifaceted antiwar movement shaped by many different perspectives and political philosophies from both in and outside prison walls. He navigates the impact of U.S. policy on his own life and the lives of draft resisters and their families. Closely following his own personal and political transformation, he also reflects on the personal sacrifices necessary to make political change and challenge institutional violence of imperialism and war.
Structured as letters to his college-age children, he aims not only to document the confusion, anger, and atrocities of the Viet Nam era, but also to pass the history of resistance on to the next generation of young activists and critical thinkers. The letter format carries the story forward, stitching together historical events and personal experience, becoming an invitation to anyone faced with moral decisions about national policy in our modern times.
Refusal to Submit was published right after Lynn Novick's and Ken Burns' excellent 10 episodes of The Vietnam War. Since none of the episodes featured draft resisters who had done prison time, Gould's book is all the more important as a complement to the Novick/Burns video series.
In one scene of the 2017 movie The Post, Daniel Ellsberg (played by Matthew Rhys) says to Ben Bagdikian, National Editor of the Washington Post (played by Bob Odenkirk), "Wouldn't you go to prison to stop this war?" More insight into this line and how draft resisters influenced Ellsberg's monumental decision to make the Pentagon Papers public may be found in passages in Refusal to Submit.