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October 4, 2022
9781421443713
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v2.1 Reference

Norman Cousins

Peacemaker in the Atomic Age

Influencing US presidents and public opinion, the American journalist Norman Cousins had an incredible but overlooked diplomatic impact during the Cold War.

As the editor of the Saturday Review for more than thirty years, Norman Cousins had a powerful platform from which to help shape American public debate during the height of the Cold War. Under Cousins's leadership, the magazine was considered one of the most influential in the literary world. Cousins's progressive, nonpartisan editorials in the Review earned him the respect of the public and US government officials. But his deep impact on postwar international humanitarian aid, anti-nuclear advocacy, and Cold War diplomacy has been largely unexplored.

In this book, Allen Pietrobon presents the first true biography of Norman Cousins. Cousins was much more important than we realize: he was involved in several secret citizen diplomacy missions during the height of the Cold War and, acting as a private citizen, played a major role in getting the Limited Test Ban Treaty signed. He also wrote JFK's famous 1963 American University commencement speech ("not merely peace in our time but peace for all time").

This book is a fascinating look at the outsized impact that one individual had on the course of American public debate, international humanitarianism, and the Cold War itself. This biography of the vocal anti-communist and anti-nuclear activist's public life will interest readers across the ideological spectrum.

About the Author

Allen Pietrobon (SILVER SPRING, MD) is an assistant professor of global affairs at Trinity Washington University.

Endorsements

"Bringing to light the wide array of efforts Norman Cousins undertook on behalf of political and social causes, Pietrobon convincingly argues that Cousins made key contributions to several important Cold War social movements and diplomatic endeavors."

- Paul Rubinson, Bridgewater State University, author of Rethinking the American Antinuclear Movement

"Pietrobon shines light on the extraordinary life of Norman Cousins, an activist, journalist, philosopher, and private citizen who, over the course of nearly five decades, conducted quiet 'citizen' diplomacy when political elites were unable or unwilling to engage on difficult issues. This well-written, compelling book, the first scholarly rendering of Cousins's life, is both original and substantial."

- Susan McCall Perlman, National Intelligence University

"Allen Pietrobon's Norman Cousins is one of the long-awaited books of our time. In his close relationships with John F. Kennedy, Nikita Khrushchev, Lyndon Johnson, and scores of other powerbrokers, Cousins proved to be a moral force for global good. This is a brilliantly researched and marvelously written study of a dove extraordinaire. Highly recommended!"

- Douglas Brinkley, Rice University, author of American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race

"Allen Pietrobon has written a masterful account of Norman Cousins, whose remarkable life intersected with so many vital flashpoints in the American century. In this outstanding blend of historical research and vivid prose, Pietrobon brings alive Cousins's poignant odyssey as a man of peace in a world beset by war."

- Andrew Hunt, University of Waterloo, author of We Begin Bombing in Five Minutes: Late Cold War Culture in the Age of Reagan

"As a lifelong admirer of Norman Cousins, I relished Pietrobon's fascinating account of the globe-trotting peace activist, who worked tirelessly to prevent nuclear war and bring humanitarian aid to war-torn people. This gripping, exciting, and deeply researched work highlights the impact one remarkable man had on Cold War diplomacy."

- Daniel Ellsberg, The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, author of The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner

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