Jonathan Schell, 70, Author and Advocate of Disarmament

By Fox, Margalit | International New York Times, March 28, 2014 | Go to article overview

Jonathan Schell, 70, Author and Advocate of Disarmament


Fox, Margalit, International New York Times


Mr. Schell's first book, "The Village of Ben Suc," chronicled the systematic devastation of a South Vietnamese village by American forces.

Jonathan Schell, a best-selling nonfiction author whose books explored warfare in its myriad 20th-century incarnations, from a scathing indictment of United States policy in Vietnam to a sobering portrait of the world in the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust, died on Tuesday at his home in Brooklyn. He was 70.

The cause was cancer, his companion, Irena Gross, said.

Mr. Schell came to public notice in his early 20s with his first book, "The Village of Ben Suc" (1967), which chronicled the systematic devastation of a South Vietnamese village by American forces. He came to greater prominence in 1982 with "The Fate of the Earth," a study of the perils of the nuclear arms race that spent several months on The New York Times's best-seller list.

Both books, like many of Mr. Schell's, had originated as articles in The New Yorker, where he was a staff writer for two decades.

Most of Mr. Schell's books -- his others include "The Time of Illusion" (1976), about Watergate, and "The Abolition" (1984), a sequel to "The Fate of the Earth" in which he called for complete nuclear disarmament -- centered on what he considered to be the United States government's repeated betrayals of the public trust. Their origin, he argued, lay in the constellation of arbitrary decisions, national self-mythologizing and received half-truths under which the government had long operated.

Mr. Schell was praised by many critics for his cleareyed reporting, his erudition, his unfussy prose and the persuasive force of his arguments. Other reviewers, however, decried him as naive, alarmist and overly confident of his own moral stance.

Critical response to "The Village of Ben Suc" within the pages of The Times exemplified this division.

Reviewing the book in the daily Times, Eliot Fremont-Smith called Mr. Schell "a sensitive observer and a cool and lucid writer" and called the book "one of the most sobering indictments yet seen of the purposes and conduct of the Vietnam War."

Reviewing the volume in The Times Book Review, the journalist John Mecklin, while praising some aspects, went on to say, "If 'The Village of Ben Suc' must be rated high as an indictment, it must also be labeled as slanted journalism, mainly because of its multitudinous sins of omission."

With "The Fate of the Earth" Mr. Schell was widely credited with helping rally ordinary citizens around the world to the cause of nuclear disarmament. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Jonathan Schell, 70, Author and Advocate of Disarmament
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.