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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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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”