Postscript: Jonathan Schell


The death this week of Jonathan Schell, a political writer whose unparallelled works of "moral conscience" spanned 45 years, is a huge loss. From The New Yorker and then The Nation, Schell fiercely opposed the Vietnam War - "a bloody playground for our idealism and our cruelty,” the Nixon and Bush administrations, the war on terror and the war in Iraq, “an unbroken record of waste, futility, and shame,” while eloquently exploring the power of nonviolent action. Most notably, he argued passionately for the abolition of nuclear weapons in four books, including his most famous, "The Fate of the Earth." William Shawn, longtime editor of The New Yorker, once praised Schell for his "warmth and good will, truthfulness, fair-mindedness, self-forgetfulness, humor, imagination, vision, conscience, inner strength, intellectual and emotional depth.” For this and more, he will be missed. Links to some of his best work here and here.

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