Dangerous Grounds

Antiwar Coffeehouses and Military Dissent in the Vietnam Era

By David L. Parsons

176 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-6155-1
    Published: August 2020
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-3201-8
    Published: May 2017
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-3202-5
    Published: March 2017

Buy this Book

For Professors:
Free E-Exam Copies

To purchase online via an independent bookstore, visit Bookshop.org
As the Vietnam War divided the nation, a network of antiwar coffeehouses appeared in the towns and cities outside American military bases. Owned and operated by civilian activists, GI coffeehouses served as off-base refuges for the growing number of active-duty soldiers resisting the war. In the first history of this network, David L. Parsons shows how antiwar GIs and civilians united to battle local authorities, vigilante groups, and the military establishment itself by building a dynamic peace movement within the armed forces.

Peopled with lively characters and set in the tense environs of base towns around the country, this book complicates the often misunderstood relationship between the civilian antiwar movement, U.S. soldiers, and military officials during the Vietnam era. Using a broad set of primary and secondary sources, Parsons shows us a critical moment in the history of the Vietnam-era antiwar movement, when a chain of counterculture coffeehouses brought the war's turbulent politics directly to the American military's doorstep.

About the Author

David L. Parsons teaches history and communication at California State University, Channel Islands, and hosts a long-running podcast on history and politics called The Nostalgia Trap.
For more information about David L. Parsons, visit the Author Page.


“This crisply written and inspirational book provides valuable documentation about the people and organizations responsible for the so-called GI coffeehouse movement of the Vietnam War Era. Highly recommended.”--Choice

"A worthy read for anyone interested in the Vietnam War or its antiwar movement."--Canadian Journal of History

“A worthwhile and intriguing book that should be required reading for anyone interested in the antiwar movement in the 1960s and 70s.”--H-Net Reviews

Dangerous Grounds is well-written, reliable, and illuminates the Vietnam War in numerous ways. . . . Narrative history at its best.”--Journal of American History

“Through meticulous research, Parsons details the roles of the GI coffeehouses in both the movement against the Vietnam War and the subsequent cultural transformation of the U.S. military. A book of wonderful insights, this fine history of the GI coffeehouse movement has great relevance in our current epoch of endless war.”--H. Bruce Franklin, author of Vietnam and Other American Fantasies

“In his account of the antiwar GI coffeehouse network, David Parsons changes the way we understand the relationship between GIs and civilian peace activists. This is a great story, full of engaging characters--both activists and their opponents--that perfectly showcases the gamut of 1960s-70s activism.”--Beth Bailey, author of America’s Army: Making the All-Volunteer Force