A Call to Conscience
The Anti-Contra War Campaign
A definitive history of the grassroots movement to halt American intervention in Nicaragua
Unlike earlier U.S. interventions in Latin America, the Reagan administration’s attempt to overthrow the Sandinista government of Nicaragua during the 1980s was not allowed to proceed quietly. Tens of thousands of American citizens organized and agitated against U.S. aid to the counterrevolutionary guerrillas, known as “contras.” Believing the Contra War to be unnecessary, immoral, and illegal, they challenged the administration’s Cold War stereotypes, warned of “another Vietnam,” and called on the United States to abide by international norms.
A Call to Conscience offers the first comprehensive history of the anti–Contra War campaign and its Nicaragua connections. Roger Peace places this eight-year campaign in the context of previous American interventions in Latin America, the Cold War, and other grassroots oppositional movements. Based on interviews with American and Nicaraguan citizens and leaders, archival records of activist organizations, and official government documents, this book reveals activist motivations, analyzes the organizational dynamics of the anti–Contra War campaign, and contrasts perceptions of the campaign in Managua and Washington.
Peace shows how a variety of civic groups and networks—religious, leftist, peace, veteran, labor, women’s rights—worked together in a decentralized campaign that involved extensive transnational cooperation.
"The new book by Prof. Roger Peace, A Call to Conscience: The Anti-Contra War Campaign, is an important contribution to recording the true history of the era, unsullied by US government and media lies and disinformation. As such, I would recommend it as reading for the Occupy Movement for its lessons on how a decentralized movement can be made strong enough to stop a very motivated president (Ronald Reagan) from sending US troops to invade another country (Nicaragua)."—Alliance for Global Justice
"[A Call to Conscience] describes among other things, how transnational activities stimulated grassroots activism, how peace and leftist solidarity groups managed to cooperate in the Central American movement, and the development of former Fellowship of Reconciliation director Don Mosley's "Walk in Peace" project in Nicaragua."—International Fellowship of Reconciliation
"What Roger Peace, adjunct professor of history at Tallahassee Community College, does very well in A Call to Conscience is remind Americans about a largely forgotten past when antiwar religious and secular groups, despite their many differences, dared challenge the Reagan administration's proxy war in Nicaragua aimed at defeating a left-wing government."—History News Network