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Historian and Antiwar Activist Marilyn Young Dies at 79

HeadlineFeb 21, 2017

And the historian and activist Marilyn Young has died at the age of 79. She taught at New York University for 35 years and was a pioneering historian of U.S. foreign relations. She was the author of “The Vietnam Wars, 1945-1990,” one of the most important books on the Vietnam War. She was also the editor of countless other books on U.S. militarism, war and human rights. Young was also a lifelong antiwar activist and a founding member of the Society of Concerned Asia Scholars. In one of her last essays, she wrote that it is her work as a historian “to speak and write so that a time of war not be mistaken for peacetime, nor waging war for making peace.” Young appeared on Democracy Now! over the years, including in 2009, when we asked her about the legacy of Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, who served under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson and played a critical role in escalating the U.S. war in Vietnam.

Marilyn Young: “He almost comes to terms, and then he runs away from coming to terms. And he does the same thing, I think, in 'Fog of War.' And he did that same thing for the whole of the rest of his life: an approach to what he had really been responsible for, and then a bouncing off it, too awful to face. And it happens over and over again.”

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