Journalist, writer, and peace activist. Has served as organizer for American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (an employees' union) and communications director for the Farm Labor Organizing Committee and the Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy. Military service: U.S. Navy, Navy Hospital Corpsman during Vietnam War.
Veterans for Peace.
Inside the Red Zone: A Veteran for Peace Reports from Iraq, foreword by Cindy Sheehan, Praeger (Westport, CN), 2006.
A Vietnam War veteran who eventually left the U.S. Navy as a conscientious objector, Mike Ferner has continued as a peace activist demonstrating against the Iraq War that began in 2003. His protests have sometimes put him at odds with the law, and in 2006 he was convicted of vandalism for spray painting "Troops Out Now" on a highway bridge. His first book, Inside the Red Zone: A Veteran for Peace Reports from Iraq, was called "essential for … understanding … the psyche and structure" of Iraq by an Internet Bookwatch contributor. In his book, Ferner reports on his visits to Iraq prior to the U.S. invasion in March, 2003, and then again a year later. The author focuses much of the book on the ordinary Iraqi citizens and their daily lives in the city and in the country, both before and after the war. The author writes in his introduction to the book: "Reading this modest volume will not provide you with the definitive political analysis of Iraq." He goes on to explain: "This book tells the story of a month I spent in Iraq just before the U.S. invasion as a member of a delegation of peace activists, and the two months I spent there a year later, as an independent journalist to write stories about ordinary people and how the war changed their lives … and mine." Inside the Red Zone has received favorable reviews, especially for revealing the lives of ordinary Iraqis. "Along with photographs and letters, Ferner offers a compellingly human perspective on the war," wrote Vanessa Bush in Booklist.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Ferner, Mike, Inside the Red Zone: A Veteran for Peace Reports from Iraq, foreword by Cindy Sheehan, Praeger (Westport, CN), 2006.
Blade, January 2, 2006, "Former City Councilman Is Accused of Vandalism: Police Say Ferner, Brother Sprayed Anti-war Graffiti"; January 6, 2006, "Editorial: Defacing a Reputation"; July 19, 2006, "Ferner Jury Selection Set to Begin Final Phase Today"; July 20, 2006, "Ferner Is Guilty of Vandalism on Sylvania Township Bridge"; August 5, 2006, "Ferner Gets House Arrest, Probation for Vandalism"; August 9, 2006, "Editorial: Fair Sentence for Ferner."
Booklist, December 1, 2006, Vanessa Bush, review of Inside the Red Zone, p. 11; June 1, 2007, Brad Hooper, review of Inside the Red Zone, p. 16.
Internet Bookwatch, May, 2007, review of Inside the Red Zone.
Reference & Research Book News, February, 2007, review of Inside the Red Zone.
Dr. Laniac's Laboratory,http://www.drlaniac.com/ (January 19, 2006), Mike Ferner, "The War on Dissent Gets Creepy."
Infoshop News,http://www.infoshop.org/ (July 10, 2006), "Anti-War Graffiti—Mike Ferner Found Guilty of Vandalism."
Mike Ferner Home Page,http://www.mikeferner.org (October 4, 2007).
Online Journal,http://www.onlinejournal.com/ (July 5, 2006), Mike Ferner, "Busted for Wearing a Peace T-Shirt; Has This Country Gone Completely Insane?"
Press Action,http://www.pressaction.com/ (April 1, 2006), Mike Ferner, "Four Words That Speak Volumes."
Selves and Others,http://www.selvesandothers.org/ (October 4, 2007), brief profile of author.
Truthout,http://www.truthout.org/ (March 14, 2006), Mike Ferner, "Hungering for Justice at My First Congressional Testimony."