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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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Acres of hemp grown by “patriotic‚” U.S. farmers in 1942 at the behest of the U.S. government:
A study suggested that the health effects of exposure to nuclear radiation at Chernobyl were no worse than ill health resulting from smoking and normal urban air pollution.
Greenpeace apologized after activists accidentally defaced the site of Peru’s 2,000-year-old Nazca Lines when they unfurled cloth letters reading “time for change” near the ancient sand drawings. “We fully understand,” the group wrote in a statement, “that this looks bad.”
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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.”