When a young recruiter tells Rosa del Duca that enlisting in the National Guard will cover most of her college tuition, it seems like the perfect opportunity to escape her small Montana town and toxic family circumstances. After all, during her six-year contract she will only be a soldier for one weekend a month and two weeks a summer―nine percent soldier, ninety-one percent civilian.
9/11 changes everything.
As American involvement in the Middle East escalates, Rosa finds herself torn between her escalating moral disagreements with the military’s actions and her promise to the National Guard. To voice her opposition to the war would mean branding herself a traitor in the eyes of the peers she has come to consider a second family, but after years of navigating messy relationships and mental health struggles fueled by her dilemma, she can no longer stay silent. As Rosa begins the slow process of becoming a conscientious objector, she finds a powerful voice for her beliefs and learns the importance of standing up, even when it means standing apart.
Rosa del Duca’s Breaking Cadence is a tribute to the notion that dissent is the highest form of patriotism. In her intense, revelatory and liberating transformation from teen military recruit to conscientious objector, we follow del Duca as she navigates her contradictory emotions that puts her on a collision course with the most powerful institution in the world. Her determination not to fight in an immoral war in Iraq will hopefully serve as a warning and an inspiration for young Americans across this country. Bravo! –Medea Benjamin, political activist and co-founder of Code Pink and human rights group Global Exchange
It’s hard to believe that a 17-year-old who can’t vote or drink can go to war. Del Duca’s experience as one of those teens — who joined the National Guard to pay for college and then finds herself on the verge of being sent to fight a war she thinks is morally wrong — is as harrowing as they come. I was riveted by her story and her strength. –Julia Scheeres, author of NYT bestseller Jesus Land and A Thousand Lives
About the Author
Rosa del Duca is a writer, journalist, and musician. She grew up a tomboy in rural Montana, where she joined the Army National Guard at seventeen. During her six-year contract, she became not only a conscientious objector, but a feminist and unlikely rebel.
Her work has been published in CALYX, River Teeth, CutBank, Grain, the Los Angeles Review, and others. When she’s not writing creatively, she’s writing the cold hard facts that keep you up at night at NBC Bay Area News, or she’s singing at bars, coffee shops, and farmers markets. Rosa lives in Castro Valley, California, with her writer, professor, and craftsman husband, Nicholas Leither, and their two young children, Itasca and River. Visit her website to learn more.