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"[E]xcellentky written. ....  If a [draft] resister had an doubts about going to Canada before [reading] the book,  he seldom had any after finishing tt. ... By mid-1968 [it] had become the first entirely Canadian-published best seller in the United States."
Roger Neville Williams, The New Exiles, Liveright, 1970

Manual for Draft-Age Immigrants to Canada

by Mark Satin

In 1967, as lead draft counselor for the Toronto Anti-Draft Programme (TADP), I conceived and wrote (and edited guest chapters for) a book that became an immediate “underground bestseller”: Manual for Draft Age Immigrants to Canada (Toronto, Jan. 1968; 2nd ed., House of Anansi Press, March 1968; four subsequent editions, 1968-71). I was 21 years old, had been “bred in at least modest comfort” in Moorhead MN and Wichita Falls TX, and was wanted in the U.S. for draft evasion.

I wasn't thrilled about becoming a draft dodger.  I'd planned on doing something really constructive with my life in the country I loved, the USA: I'd planned on becoming an American historian in the tradition of Charles and Mary Beard and V.L. Parrington.  But it was inconceivable to me -- I mean, not even an option -- that I would answer my country's call to go off and try to kill, maim, and intimidate Vietnamese for no good reason (except to maintain one's own careerist "viability," as the young Bill Clinton put it).

Even in 1965-66, it was obvious to anyone who made some sincere effort to look into the situation that the Vietnam war was flagrantly unjust and not in America's true interests, and it was also obvious what the stand-up (i.e., non-Clintonesque) alternatives were: jail or Canada.  I chose Canada because I thought I could do more good working against the war machine from Toronto than I could rotting in the federal penitentiary in Texarkana.  And work against the war machine is exactly what I did!

[Note to those who've e-mailed me through this website calling me a coward or worse: In 1965, as a civil rights worker in Holly Springs, Mississippi, I'd already been shot at and been in two other life-threatening situations -- and hardly gave any of those situations a second thought.  The great tension between me and the members of my civil rights group was I wanted to try organizing students at the segregated white high school in Holly Springs!  Like many naive young males from places like Moorhead and Wichita Falls, I basically felt invulnerable, which is why we're such great Army fodder.]

I wrote the Manual in consultation with many other draft counselors across North America -- to this day the bravest, most generous, and altogether most wonderful karass I’ve ever known. (The best argument for cloning is it could bring back some facsimile of fabled Los Angeles civil rights and military draft lawyer William G. Smith, who traveled to Toronto with his girlfriend in 1967 to look over the manuscript and buck up my spirits a couple of weeks after my parents attacked me in the pages of the Ladies' Home Journal. He died August 2, 1999, and it’s to him I dedicate this web page.)

The Manual sold 65,000 copies by mail from Toronto, largely to young men and women in the good ol’ USA, at a time when it was illegal for Canadian publishers to sell more than 1,500 copies of any one title in the U.S. In addition, tens of thousands of “pirated” copies (often abridged and mimeographed) were produced in the U.S., usually by draft counseling groups or other radical groups and basically with our blessing.

The U.S. press was, unwittingly, the Manual’s best publicist. The U.S. press was very different in 1967-68 than it is today (if you think today’s press is conservative, just scan some U.S. newspapers from the Sixties!). So after the Manual was published, there were endless attacks on and loathsome references to it in the U.S. media -- beginning, of course, with an attack in the New York Times, cited below (“a major bid to encourage Americans to evade military conscription”). As a result, millions of guys knew where to write for information about emigration as an alternative to their legal obligation to slaughter politically incorrect Vietnamese and their families and neighbors.

The Manual got around.  In his book Northern Passage (cited below), Northwestern University sociologist John Hagan says “more than a third” of his sample of Vietnam-war-motivated U.S. immigrants to Canada had read the Manual while still in the U.S., and "nearly another quarter" acquired it after they arrived.  The intrepid Joseph Jones (cited below) identified five novels that “include the Manual as a significant ‘character’” -- Morton Redner’s Getting Out (1971), Daniel Peters’s Border Crossings (1978), Valerie Miner’s Movement (1982), John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany (1989, a bestseller), and Mordecai Richler’s Barney’s Version (1997). He has since identified two more, Ray Robertson’s Moody Food (2002) and Mark Kurlansky's Battle Fatigue (2011, for young adults)..

I recently [this was early 2005 - ed.] discovered two delightful Manual-related photos on the web.  Prominent photographer John Phillips (one of my first Toronto counselees!) has posted a photo of volunteers assembling the first edition of the Manual HERE.  It perfectly captures the feel of The Movement circa December 1967 . . . made even me miss it.  And Yale-trained artist Gareth Long, born in 1979 -- four years after the Vietnam War ended -- has created a multimedia artwork replacing certain subtitles in Oliver Stone's film Platoon with text from the Manual; see it in living color HERE.

I was purged from TADP in May 1968, basically for not letting the Marxists and hyper-Canadian nationalists on the TADP Board water down our Herculean efforts to help Americans emigrate and flourish (the Marxists wanted most war resisters to stay in the U.S. and make The Revolution; the Canada-firsters were ambivalent about the influx of “pushy,” “arrogant,” “hard-to-assimilate” Americans) -- and after I was purged, the Left performed a version of what became in the 20th century one of its signature ritual acts: it removed my name from the byline of future editions of the Manual. Eventually they put another person’s name there.

FYI, the second edition was by all accounts the best of the Manuals -- the least politicized, the most exuberant, even the handsomest -- and it was the largest single edition, with a print run of 20,000. It’s the second edition that I share with you in sections II and III below.


I. Fifteen Reviews and Media Mentions

II. The Manual's Table of Contents

III. The Manual's Introduction: “This Is Your Handbook”

IV. Satin's Form Letter Introducing the Manual to 2,000 Draft Counselors, March 1968

V. Like, Almost 40 Years Later ..

VI. Used Copies on Amazon.

VII. For Further Information

VIII. Encore



“The director of the Toronto Anti-Draft Program, Mark Satin, told a Toronto church congregation the proposed [Manual] would not ‘encourage’ draft dodgers to come to Canada, it would merely ‘inform’ them of their prospects here.  That’s a very narrow definition of the word ‘encourage.’”
– Editorial, Toronto Star, January 30, 1968

“[A] major bid to encourage Americans to evade military conscription. ...  [C[ontains detailed advice about how to qualify as a Canadian immigrant, and information about Canadian jobs and school opportunities, housing, politics, culture and climate.”
– Edward Cowan, The New York Times, February 11, 1968

“[S]upplies would-be immigrants from the south with information on everything from peanut butter and chocolate chip cookie costs to ...  the cold facts about immigration
– Gary Dunford, Toronto Star, February 14, 1968

“The [Manual] does not play a siren song to Canada.  In fact,  one chapter warns: ‘It is foolish for draft-delinquent Americans to expect that they will ever be able to return to the U.S. legally.’”
– Harry Rosenthal, Los Angeles Times, June 2, 1968

“[C]ontain[s] useful information that would otherwise be difficult to obtain.”
– Paul Lauter and Florence Howe, The New York Review of Books, June 20, 1968

“[Satin] compiled [the Manual] from his own well-researched knowledge of Cabnadian immigration and from material submitted by a number of Canadian and American contibutors. ...  All of it was presented in a strikingly thorough and concise format.  It is excellently written.”
– Roger Neville Williams, The New Exiles, Liveright Publishers, 1970

“[H]elped thousands of Americans to make their way to Canada, often unaided except for this book.”
– Renee G. Kasinsky, Refugees from Militarism, Transaction Books, 1976

“Many draft evaders did not know how to apply for landed immigtrant status.  Very few knew anything about the country at all. ...  It was Sain who put together a ninety-page Manual ... that contained all the information any draft resister would need to know about moving north of the border.”
– Pierre Berton, 1967: The Last Good Year, Doubleday Canada, 1997

“[P]layed an enormous role in shaping resisters’ early thoughts about Canada.”
– John Hagan, Northern Passage, Harvard University Press, 2001

“[This] best-selling book ...charted a path for thousands [and] continues to stand as an icon. ...  Mark Satin’s energy and enthusiasm are evident throughout.”
– Joseph Jones, Canadian Notes & Queries. spring-summer 2002

“Satin ... wrote the Manual for Draft-Age Immigrants to Canada, an underground ‘how-to’ best-seller used by tens of thousands of his fellow draft-dodgers who avoided military service by living in Canada. ...  He and his parents reconciled.  ‘But the hearts never mended on either side,’ Satin says.”
– Burt Constable, Daily Herald (suburban Chicago), February 4, 2003

“In Canada we prepared a warm welcome for American draft dodgers [with the] Manual. ”
– Robert Fulford, National Post (Canada), March 29, 2008

“Top-selling titles [of all time] from House of Anansi: ... [4] A Manual for Draft-Age Immigrants to Canada by Mark Satin (1968).  Close to 100,000 copies sold [and the] book that has stayed continuously in print the longest. ...  [5] The Circle Game: Poems by Margaret Atwood (1967).”
– James Adams, The Globe and Mail (Toronto), October 20, 2007

“Mark Satin’s Manual ... went on to sell some 100,000 copies.”
– Patricia Hluchy, Toronto Star, June 1, 2008

“In 1968, Satin wrote what would become an underground bestseller, the Manual. ...  He quickly became the media’s go-to guy for draft-dodger information, the office a drop-in center for teenybopper ‘volunteers.’ ...  But he did himself no favours back home.”
– Lynda Hurst, Toronto Star, August 24, 2008


II. THE MANUAL'S Table of Contents

Preface: Words from Canadians
-- Vincent Kelly, Barrister and Solicitor
-- Robert D. Katz, Canada Dept. of Manpower and Immigration
-- Prof. William E. Mann, York University

-- Heather Dean, Student Union for Peace Action
-- Rev. Roy G. DeMarsh, United Church of Canada

1. Introduction . . . this is your handbook


2. Landed Immigrant Status . . . immigrant status is your goal

3. Visitor Status . . . but you can come in as a visitor

4. Student Status . . . or as a student

5. The New Regulations . . . new laws were passed in 1967

6. The Unit System . . . making immigration a more objective process

7. The Application Form . . . there is one application form

8. Applying at the Border . . . you can apply at the border

9, Applying from Within . . . from within Canada

10. Applying by Mail . . . by mail from the U.S.

11. Applying at a Consulate . . . at a consulate

12. Applying Through a Relative . . . or by nomination

13. Reapplying . . . if at first you don’t succeed, try again

14. Extradition . . . try not to get kicked out

15. Deportation . . . or sent back

16. Prohibited Classes . . . these can’t try at all

17. Mobility . . . you’ll be free to travel

18. Renouncing Citizenship . . . and maybe you want to go back

19. From Immigrant to Citizen . . . but plan on staying

20. Customs . . . there’s a little red tape involved

21. Addresses . . . but plenty of people can help you

22. Literature . . . in writing

23. Canadian Groups . . . in Canada

24. U.S. Groups . . . and in the U.S. too

25. Questions . . . let us hear from you


26. History (by Kenneth McNaught) . . . yes, John, there is a Canada

27. Politics (by Heather Dean) . . . it has politics

28. Culture (by J.M.S. Careless) . . . culture

29. Cities (by Douglas Myers) . . . cities

30. Geography and Climate . . . and snow

31. Living Conditions and Costs . . . it’s a good country

32. Jobs (by Robert D. Katz) . . . jobs are available

33. Housing (by Robert D. Katz) . . . and so is housing

34. The University Scene (by James Laxer) . . . the schools are pretty good

35. Universities and Colleges . . . and all of them different

36. A History of Draft Resistance in Canada (by Elliot Rose) . . . you’re not the first

37. Current Resisters (by Robert Akakia) . . . but you may be unique

38. Canadians on Resisters (by Max Allen) . . . and Canadians are interested

39. Newspapers and Magazines . . . you can find out more

40. For Further Reading (suggestions from W. D. Godfrey and Peggy Morton) . . . in books


A. Excerpts from the Canadian Extradition Treaty

B. Occupations in Strong National Demand


III. The Manual's Introduction: "this is your handbook"

Slowly at first, and now in growing numbers, from Maine to Alabama to California, from ghettos, suburbs and schools, young Americans are coming to Canada to resist the draft. [I must have spent the equivalent of a week polishing that first paragraph! - M.S.]

There is no draft in Canada. The last time they tried it was World War Two, when tens of thousands of Canadians refused to register. Faded “Oppose Conscription” signs can still be seen along the Toronto waterfront. The mayor of Montreal was jailed for urging Canadians to resist -- and was re-elected from jail. No one expects a draft again. [Most of that paragraph was written by Heather Dean, an incandescent high-profile Canadian feminist and radical activist who refused all invitations to “sell out” and go to work for The System. Or at least, that’s how I saw it at the tender age of 20 - M.S.]

It’s a different country, Canada.

“I didn’t know where to begin. The Consulate tried to discourage me. I think they were prejudiced. The peace groups didn’t know much. The hardest thing about immigrating is finding out how. . . .”

This is a handbook for draft resisters who have chosen to immigrate to Canada. Read it carefully, from cover to cover, and you will know how. It was written by Canada’s major anti-draft programmes and their lawyers. [Such a diplomat I was at the age of 21! - M.S.] Part One goes through the immigration process step by step. If you are still unclear, or face special difficulties that are not covered here [this was a necessarily veiled reference to deserters - M.S.], make sure to write. Or come in as a visitor and get help and advice.

Immigration is not the best choice for everyone and this pamphlet does not take sides. Four other alternatives are open to draft-age Americans: deferment, C.O. [conscientious objector] status, jail or the armed forces. The groups listed in Chapter 24 can help you choose among these alternatives or fight the Selective Service system as long as possible. Canada is not an easy way out; in many cases it means cutting yourself off from parents and friends. But there are many reasons draft resisters have chosen Canada -- as many reasons as Americans. What these Americans are like is described at the end of Part Two.

“I thought I’d be chased out by the cops. Kidnapped! Or extradited. Or deported. Or something. . . .”

Canada has not “opened its borders” to young Americans. There is no political asylum. But an American’s possible military obligations are not a factor in the decision to permit him to enter and remain. FBI agents on official business are barred from Canada. Most other Americans are welcome, unless they fall into one of the “prohibited classes” (see Chapter 16).

On April 12, 1967 [U.S.] General Mark Clark asked the Canadian Embassy in Washington to help return all the “draft dodgers.” He was told that it would not be possible. Canada’s extradition treaty with the U.S. lists the extraditable offenses one by one (see Appendix A); resisting the draft is not among them.

Americans can enter Canada as immigrants, visitors or students (see Chapters 2-4) at any point in their induction proceedings.

“Well, you know, I can hardly believe this. I like it here. I thought Canada was the end of the world. Inferior schools. Inferior jobs. Igloos and log cabins everywhere. . . .”

You do not leave civilization behind when you cross the border. (In fact, many Canadians would claim that you enter it.) Part Two will tell you about Canada. We have not tried to sell you on Canada -- our chapter on climate is chilling -- but the truth is that Canada is a nice place to be. There is little discrimination by Canadians against draft resisters, and there is a surprising amount of sympathy. Most Americans lead the same lives in Canada they would have led in the U.S. Americans who immigrate are not just rejecting one society; they are adopting another. Is it really freer? Most draft resisters -- and most Canadians -- think so. [The Board I was responsible to was adamant that I NOT “encourage” Americans to immigrate. But as you can tell, I straddled the line as much as possible! - M.S.]

“But I can’t go back home again, ever.”

That’s right. It can not be overstressed that draft resisters will probably never be able to return to the U.S. without risking arrest. This applies even to family emergencies. When a draft resister’s father died last summer, two FBI agents showed up at the funeral.

Draft resisters have had and should continue to have only normal difficulties immigrating. Probably any young American can get in if he is really determined, though all will need adequate information and many may need personal counselling [this seemingly redundant sentence was another necessarily veiled attempt to reach military deserters - M.S.]. We cannot emphasize too much that people should send us their questions or visit before they immigrate (see Chapter 25).

Finally, the toughest problem a draft resister faces is not how to immigrate but whether he really wants to. And only you can answer that. For yourself.

That’s what Nuremberg was all about.

[end of Manual excerpt]



My co-counselor and I sent this letter, which I wrote, along with a sample copy of the Manual, to over 2,000 draft counselors across North America.  We also sent a mailing to hundreds of media outlets.  Most of the TADP board was furious with us – they saw it as an enormous waste of money and (as always) an enormous ego-trip on my part.  But like many far-left boards in those days, they knew nothing about entrepreneurship or promotion.  Within two months, 17,000 Manuals would be purchased or ordered; within four years, nearly 100,000 Manuals or facsimiles would be in print.  (For my essay on the internal politics of the board, see HERE.)

All comments in brackets are from me c. 2014. – M.S.

Dear Friend,

Unfortunately, misinformation about Canada is currently being distributed by the U.S. press, the underground press [a notorious fount of paranoia as well as misinformation – M.S.], prejudiced Canadian consular officials and some draft counselors. [some of whom opposed Canadian emigration for tactical reasons – M.S.].  We have enclosed a sample copy of our new MANUAL FOR DRAFT-SGE IMMIGRANTS TO CANADA which is meant to answer the questions of those who are considering immigration to Canada as an alternative to the draft.

The MANUAL is the first joint publication by Canada’s major anti-draft programmes [I am bending over to be diplomatic here – the Montreal and Vancouver groups both made extremely valuable comments on my draft manuscript, and the Vancouver group’s brochure had been the best to date – M.S.], and the whole text has been gone over by two lawyers.  Seven U.S. anti-draft groups (AFSC, CCCO, WRL etc.) made comments and revisions.  [For the record, the seven extraordinary U.S. draft counselors who vetted my manuscript were:  Robert Bird at American Friends Service Committee, Philadelphia; Steve Gompertz at the SDS Anti-Draft Union, Berkeley; C. J. Hinke at RESIST / Support-in-Action, New York City; Joe Kearns at War Resisters League, New York City; Frank Nussbaum at Boston Draft Resistance Group (formerly Harvard We Won’t Go); John Reints at Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors, Philadelphia; and Joe Tuchinsky at American Friends Service Committee, Chicago.  In addition, storied anti-Vietnam War attorney William G. Smith flew out from Los Angeles to review the manuscript – M.S.]

Part One goes through immigration step by step.  Part Two is about Canada – its job opportunities, schools, politics etc.  The MANUAL does not encourage people to immigrate, and we’ve listed 100 U.S. groups that can help young Americans fight the draft in other ways.  [This last sentence was important, because many draft counselors were not enamored of the Canadian option – M.S.]

TADP is interested in reaching as many young Americans as possible with a reliable source of information re immigration and we urge you to make copies of the MANUAL available.  We’re paying the initial costs ourselves so we can offer copies at cost of printing (25 cents each) plus postage.  Still, if you or your group hasn’t the funds to order the copies it needs, charge yourself what you can afford and pay us on consignment.  Please pay what you can in advance and allow up to one month for delivery.

A resister who has run out of time, lacks some of the apparent qualifications or faces special difficulties not covered by the MANUAL, may be able to immigrate if he comes to us first.  [This paragraph was meant to cover not just military deserters, but lower-class guys and the many guys living “underground” and in fear of the authorities.  According to the Roger Neville Williams book cited in section “VII” below, “no one [who applied for landed immigrant status] was ever turned down when Satin worked for the Anti-Draft Programme.”  I have no idea how thoroughly Williams researched that – he certainly did not interview me – and I assume he means everyone I counseled eventually obtained their status; frustrations at the border were not uncommon.  Still I’d like to believe that, like my idol Sandy Koufax, I pitched a perfect game once – M.S.]

In Chapter 23 we advertise our Canada Counselor’s Packet which includes copies of all the relevant laws and some important memos.  We would recommend that you write for the Packet if you hope to answer very specific questions and questions of policy.

We hope you’ll think of this as the beginning of a close correspondence.  If you respond we’ll make sure to send you notes on further changes in the Immigration Act and on things more subtle, and will receive warmly anyone you send us.

Pax et amor,


[Bernie, whom I hired to be my co-counselor and, ultimately, co-director, made a good first impression on the TADP board, in no small part because his sister, Naomi Jaffe, was a leading spokesperson for the Marxist radicals within SDS (she would later become a founder of the Weather Underground).  But Bernie was more of a freethinking New Age sort, like me, as you can tell from the salutation – M.S.]

P.S.  2,000 sample copies of the MANUAL have been sent to draft counselors from coast to coast and abroad.  For us this meant an outlay of nearly $1,000 [$7,000 in today’s dollars – M.S.].  It would be appreciated if you would drop $1 – the list price – into an envelope and send it to us.


V. Like, almost 40 years later ....

Here I am giving a talk on my just-published book Radical Middle: The Politics We Need Now at the Fall for the Book Festival near Washington, DC in September, 2004 (photo courtesy Penny H. Gilchrist).  At one point, I looked out at the audience and had the bizarre sensation that I was still a draft dodger, still imploring my listeners to pay close attention to the real effects their actions (or non-actions) were having in the world.



The first edition is a collector’s item and is not for sale on Amazon.  Although Amazon purports to sell used copies of the second, third, and fourth editions, it is difficult to find them there, so here you go:

Second edition (20,000 copies, largest printing by far), HERE;

Third edition HERE;

Fourth edition HERE and HERE.

The third edition, published after my time at TADP, marked a decline in production quality.  With the fourth edition, TADP began adding extraneous material that (in my opinion) detracted from the overall credibility of the book.  The fifth and sixth editions are so compromised by politically motivated observations and dubious editorial choices that I am happy not to have my name on them, although much of the text is still mine.

I was deeply moved by the two “Customer Reviews” that still (April 2014) accompany Amazon’s displays of the second through fourth editions.  One is from a man, another a woman; both actually used the Manual, way back when.



See this website's Toronto Anti-Draft Programme page.

Wikipedia, “Mark Satin” biography, Section II. – conains a more “objective” account of my time at TADP and producing the Manual than you’ll find above.  Includes over 30 high-quality references.  The bio has become a “Featured Article” on Wikipedia, an honorific bestowed on fewer than one in 1,000 articles there; click on the bronze star in the upper-right-hand corner of the bio to learn more.

Joseph Jones, “The House of Anansi’s Singular Bestseller,” Canadian Notes & Queries. spring-summer 2002, pp. 19-22 – the definitive article on the Manual.  Explicitly or implicitly, addresses many misperceptions about the Manual and about me that had grown up over the years.  Canadian Notes & Queries is a major Toronto-based literary journal.

Joseph Jones (webmaster), Vietnam War Resisters in Canada – great mega-website, run by an American war resister and (now former) longtime librarian at the University of British Columbia, my alma mater.  Includes links to draft dodger biographies, essays, fiction, interviews, memoirs, news items, and more.

Roger Neville Williams, The New Exiles: American War Resisters in Canada, Liveright Pubishers, 1970, pbk. 1971 – still my favorite of the draft dodger books, and now largely online.  The major draft counseling groups are in Chapter Two; the Manual and I are on pp. 62-67.

The Mark Satin Papers, Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library, University of Toronto – includes my unpublished 30-page memoir of “real life” at TADP, 50 press clips and book excerpts about me at TADP, 15 letters to TADP from potential war evaders, 50 letters from my personal life c. 1967-68, and more.  Also contains material about the later, New Age Politics part of my Canadian journey.

(A true and correct copy of all the University of Toronto material, above, is at the Joseph A. Labadie Collection at Hatcher Graduate Library, University of Michigan; and I keep a second copy in Oakland CA.  If you are a serious researcher and wish to access it in Oakland, e-mail me at msatin (at) mindspring (dot) com.  Put “Research” in the subject line.)

The Jack Pocock Memorial Collection, Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library, University of Toronto – also tells the story of TADP and the Manual.  Concentrates on the period after 1968.


VIII. Encore [from 2005]

Came upon this in May 2005.  It is from Jules Witcover's book The Year the Dream Died: Revisiting 1968 in America (Warner Books, 1997):

"Other young Americans of draft age, including many who had been active in the civil rights movement, fled to Canada, where large communities of them formed in Toronto and other cities and often worked in the antiwar movement. . . .

"A twenty-year-old from Wichita Falls, Texas, named Mark Satin made a typical observation when I encountered him one day at the Toronto [Anti-Draft Programme] office: "I feel as though a great weight has been lifted from my shoulders. It's colder here, but you feel warm because you know you're not trying to kill people."


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