Not One More Mother's Child
By Cindy Sheehan
After spending scorching August days with hundreds of war protesters at her makeshift camp near US President George W. Bush's Crawford ranch, Cindy Sheehan slipped away each night to her tent or RV for a few quiet moments on her laptop.
The words came easily as she opined about the war, US leaders, her critics and her supporters. And the tears started to flow no matter how many times she wrote about her 24-year-old son Casey, a soldier who died in Iraq last year.
"I miss him more every day. It seems the void in my life grows as time goes on, and I realize I am never going to see him again or hear his voice," Sheehan wrote. "I knew he was going to be a great man. I just had no idea how great he was going to be or how much it was going to hurt me."
Now those journal entries are in her book, Not One More Mother's Child, which was released on Wednesday. The paperback also contains some of her speeches to peace groups earlier this year, letters to politicians and writings since leaving Crawford.
"I never wrote anything more than a note to excuse my kids from school before Casey was killed, so to see something I wrote in print with my name on it is amazing," Sheehan said by phone from her home in Berkeley, California.
Sheehan gained national attention during her 26-day vigil on a Texas roadside near President Bush's ranch in August. She refused to move until the president met with her or ended his vacation. That moved Arnie Kotler, the founder of a Hawaii publishing company, who saw the news coverage and read Sheehan's Internet blog entries from the protest.
"I thought, 'This is already a book. This is incredible,'" said Kotler of Koa Books, which printed about 20,000 copies. "We got it done as quickly as we could, and the deepest reason is to stop the war."
The White House did not return calls seeking comment on the book.
Sheehan shares details about how Casey, her oldest child, grew up to be an Eagle scout who considered becoming a priest. He enlisted, Sheehan said, to give something back to the country.
"He didn't enlist to be used and misused by a reckless commander in chief who sent his troops to preemptively attack and occupy a country that was no imminent threat or any threat to our country," she writes.
In a chapter called "The Peaceful Occupation of Crawford, Texas," Sheehan chronicles the daily events of the protest, such as being bombarded with media interviews, the campsite wedding of two peace activists and visits from celebrities Martin Sheen, Joan Baez and the Reverend Al Sharpton. She also writes about her critics.
"The right-wingers are really having a field day with me," she wrote.
"...What really hurts me the most is when people say that I am dishonoring Casey by my protest in Crawford. By wanting our troops to come home alive and well, that I am somehow not supporting them."
Sheehan plans to go on a book tour, but first she wants to resume her protest in Crawford this week as Bush spends Thanksgiving at his ranch.
"The Camp Casey movement will not die until we have a genuine accounting of the truth and until our troops are brought home," she wrote. "Get used to it, George. We are not going away."