William Stafford Biography | Author of Ways to Live

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William Stafford was born in 1914 in Hutchinson, Kansas. His parents instilled in him moral values and a decidedly nonconformist, independent view of the world. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the family moved frequently within Kansas. Stafford worked constantly, delivering papers, harvesting beets, or apprenticing as an electrician's assistant. He attended junior college and then the University of Kansas, where he received a bachelor's degree in 1937. When America entered World War II in 1941, Stafford registered as a conscientious objector. In place of military service, he worked in government camps in a program of "alternative service under civilian direction." Throughout the war, he was sent to California, Illinois, and Arkansas, where he was involved in soil conservation projects and battling forest fires. The experience of standing up for his pacifist beliefs during a war that was widely supported made Stafford comfortable with following his own ideas. It also...

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This section contains 497 words
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