Did the cultural revolution of the ’60s get its start in an obscure group of World War II conscientious objectors on the Oregon coast?

Eugene historian Steve McQuiddy made that case in last year’s book “Here on the Edge: How a Small Group of World War II Conscientious Objectors Took Art and Peace from the Margins to the Mainstream,” published by Oregon State University Press. Now the book is a finalist for the $10,000 Dayton Literary Peace Prize, which “celebrates the power of literature to promote peace and global understanding.”

Steve McQuiddy

Steve McQuiddy

His book details the powerful influence created by men interned during the war at Civilian Public Service Camp #56 near Waldport. The group included such luminaries as William Everson, the poet later known as Brother Antoninus, and sculptor Clayton James. Released after the war, the COs headed south to San Francisco, where they formed a nucleus of the Beat Generation, out of which grew such ’60s icons as the Merry Pranksters and the Grateful Dead.

“Here on the Edge” is one of six finalists in the non-fiction division; six others have been chosen as finalists in the fiction division, which also awards a $10,000 prize.

Winners are to be announced in Dayton, Ohio, on Nov. 9.