At a time when her college peers are debating what to major in, going to parties, and working jobs they can quit without threat of prosecution, Rosa is a secret traitor. She is a conscientious objector stuck in a National Guard uniform during the War on Terror. When the call comes to ship out, she faces the biggest quandary of her life: abandon some of the most caring and brave Americans she’s ever met, or follow her moral compass, no matter the consequences. This first-of-its kind memoir is about the struggle to do the right thing when right and wrong is not black and white. It's about forbidden romances, mind games, and the Army’s unnerving ability to function like a family. It’s a story about a girl who made a bad choice and had to stand up against a male-dominated apparatus so powerful it has its own laws. It’s about digging under those walls and coming out with something to say about the sanctity of youth and a freedom that is truly free. Order Breaking Cadence: One Woman's War Against the War here. Peruse Rosa's Breaking Cadence photo gallery here.
Breaking Cadence in the News:
Feature in Democratic Left: Adolescent Dreams, Adult Nightmares
Interview with anti-war podcast Fortress on a Hill
Op Ed on Alternet: How exactly do you prove you are a conscientious objector?
Interview with Dave Congalton, Hometown Radio: Author of “Breaking Cadence” refuses to serve in Iraq
Read Rosa's recent "Truth in Recruitment" feature: Warriors Wanted: Does the U.S. Military Prey on Teenagers
Castro Valley High School's Student Newspaper Reviews Breaking Cadence
Praise for Breaking Cadence:
"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
"BREAKING CADENCE is a page-turner, a gripping blow-by-blow account of how Rosa del Duca's immersion in military culture comes to a crisis point when her conscience awakens. This is a deep and compelling exploration of the bridge into adulthood, complete with the nuts-and-bolts of Army training and the hard times of a small town Montana upbringing, but most of all a savvy warts-and-all self-portrayal, which arrives with a deep understanding of what personal responsibility actually is, and how it can be exploited by the war-making machinery. This is a vital read for anyone wrestling with the ethics of what being in uniform--or frankly being a person--means." -- Glen David Gold, author of Carter Beats the Devil
"Rosa has employed the same grace and strength to tell a much-needed story about the costs of the military industrial complex on one woman’s life as she engaged to free herself. She is a beautiful storyteller as she unravels the ugly truths about good intentions twisted and used by the violent and careless system. Reading her book is the seed of inspiration we all need as we learn about the systems we live within and how violent they can be to others. It is time to divest from war and invest ourselves in a culture of peace. Rosa lays the bread crumbs for us to follow." --Jodie Evans, co-founder and director of CODEPINK
"From track star to soldier, from cadet to conscientious objector, Rosa del Duca maps a riveting account of military life and her uneasy metamorphosis in a book that's impossible to put down." --Marilyn Abildskov, author of The Men in My Country
"Breaking Cadence is honest, beautifully-written, and immensely compelling. Among many other things, it is a vital chronicle of military service, and of the young Americans who volunteer into it. It is a window into a world most civilians know little about, but must, if we are to reckon with the actual human costs of war. Step by painful step, the narrator becomes the person she was destined to be: a conscientious objector, an artist, and a writer who looks honestly at herself and the world, and who tells, in unflinching detail, the truth. The irrefutable evidence of her destiny is this compelling, moving, essential story." --Matthew Zapruder, author of Why Poetry and Sun Bear.
"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, co-founder of CODEPINK
Personal Essays and Fiction
Rosa's shorter work has been published in Cutbank, Grain, River Teeth, CALYX, Mission at 10th, Crack the Spine and Umbrella Factory. You can read some of her published work below, as well as the query letter for her novel, Live at the Scene, which she is seeking representation for.
Live at the Scene is an investigation in the most literal sense. When young TV reporter Cadence and her cameraman Drew are assigned to a disturbing kidnapping case near Sacramento, Cadence discovers she’s not content to sit back and trust in the small town cops. She launches her own investigation, and in the process, scrutinizes journalists’ complex roles as both voyeurs for the public, and trusted filters. And because one of the missing children has a troubled past she can’t help but identify with, she begins to examine her own history as well. The investigations feed off each other until both come to a tumultuous climax... [full letter here]