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The Pre-Emient Historian of War

Gabriel Kolko, 1932-2014

by JEFFREY ST. CLAIR

We received word this morning that our friend and long-time CounterPunch writer Gabriel Kolko died yesterday at his home in Amsterdam. Kolko, author of The Triumph of Conservatism, Anatomy of a War: the United States, Vietnam and the Modern Historical Experience, and Century of War: Politics, Conflicts and Society Since 1914, was one of the pre-eminent historians of our time. Kolko was born in Paterson, New Jersey in 1932. He attended Kent State University and received his doctorate in history from Harvard.  Along with Saul Landau, Kolko was one of the circle of historians trained at University of Wisconsin by the great William Appleman Williams. Kolko taught history for many years at York University in Toronto. He moved to Amsterdam soon after his retirement. Kolko’s books on the progressive era, the Cold War, Vietnam and the war on terror stand as some of the most trenchant and revealing documents of our time. For the past few years, Gabe had been working feverishly on an assessment of Vietnam in the decades after the war. Kolko had a profound influence on my thinking and it was a privilege to publish his writing over the last 15 years. A fuller appraisal of Kolko’s life and work is forthcoming.

Jeffrey St. Clair edits CounterPunch. He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net.