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In his New York Times Book Review assessment of Nicholson Baker’s new collection, The Way the World Works, John Jeremiah Sullivan devotes extensive attention to “Why I’m a Pacifist,” an essay that ran in the May 2011 issue of Harper’s Magazine and is available to subscribers here.
Sullivan astutely remarks that the piece—which focuses on “the idea that we may have hastened the Holocaust by joining the fight, or worsened it, or even helped to bring it about”—was likely to draw more comment than others in the collection. Indeed, we received dozens of letters about “Why I’m a Pacifist,” and chose two particularly thoughtful ones for our July 2011 Letters section, which also included a response from Baker.
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“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”