We’re preparing for a busy season at Ooligan Press, with three titles coming out in as many consecutive months beginning in March. Our final book of the school year, Breaking Cadence: One Woman’s War Against the War by Rosa del Duca, is set to publish on May 21. It’s a thought-provoking memoir that not only communicates Rosa’s path to becoming a conscientious objector in the military but also serves as a conversation-starter around a number of pressing topics.

Rosa’s first encounter with the military came at age seventeen, when she was a high-school student in a small town in Montana. Stuck without a way to pay for college and to break free of confining family dynamics, the National Guard recruiter that came to her school seemed to offer the perfect solution: a straightforward path to continue her education while training one weekend a month, and two weeks during the summer. She did the math: she’d be ten percent soldier, ninety percent civilian. It was the year 2000, and the recruiter assured her that the most dangerous work she’d be doing was fighting forest fires. A year into Rosa’s contract, 9/11 changed everything. As the US entered the War on Terror, she began to comprehend the increasing disparity between the American military’s agenda in the Middle East and her own principles. Ultimately, she realized that in order to live by her own ethics, she needed to seek conscientious objector status.

We’re excited to share this memoir for a number of reasons. It’s unique in offering a female perspective on the military experience, as well as a before-and-after perspective of the impact of 9/11 on the military and our society as a whole. Moreover, many people are familiar with conscientious objectors as pertaining to the Vietnam War but have less exposure to those who sought this path in more recent conflicts. And because the War on Terror is ongoing, the issues Rosa raises still resonate soundly today. This book has a dual purpose, then, in sharing her extraordinary story and sparking discussion around relevant issues like teenage military recruitment tactics and the moral quandary between honoring a commitment and not wanting to compromise your core values. You also don’t need to have a background in the military to engage with this book; Rosa’s journey to find her voice and identify her true path in life will resonate with readers beyond a military context.

If you don’t want to wait until May to learn more about Rosa, she also has a highly-rated podcast that’s been releasing episodes since October. In addition to her prowess as a writer, Rosa has an extensive background in radio and music and uses her talents to the fullest advantage in this medium. Her podcast features interviews with other conscientious objectors, activists, and individuals involved in the legal process of war resistance, as well as further reflections on her military experience. It’s an engaging and eye-opening companion to the memoir, and I hope you all check it out and join the conversation.

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