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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Remembering Jonathan Schell

UPDATENYT obit now up.

Earlier:  The great writer/activist Jonathan Schell has died at age 70.  See tribute just up at The Nation, where he had done most of his writing in recent years after a long tenure at The New Yorker.   He was, as everyone says, a swell guy.  I knew him some, going back to my years at Nuclear Times in the 1980s.  Jonathan was in some ways the "godfather" of the massive antinuclear movement of those years, thanks to his immensely influential classic The Fate of the Earth.   I met him then and he helped inspire my Hiroshima focus.  Most importantly, he was not afraid to propose abolishing, not just "controlling," nuclear weapons.  In fact, his sequel to The Fate of the Earth was titled The Abolition.

Later we had many talks and spent some time together at the annual Wellfleet gatherings at my co-author Robert Jay Lifton's place. And then we'd meet from time to time in NYC, although in recent years he seemed to be ill or recuperating.  While many will remember his nuclear writings above all,  he was equally persuasive on 1) Vietnam  2)  9/11  3) Iraq and 4)  other peace and disarmament issues.  And a sweet, gentle, humble human being.

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