The great critic and historian Paul Fussell died yesterday. Real Clear Books linked to three Fussell-related items today and our competition, Arts & Letters Daily, linked to an obituary. What has the New Republic done? Certainly nothing that I can find. Nothing so far on the front page. TNR‘s books page, which often republishes old essays, is silent. How about its new literary aggregation page? Crickets.
This is extra odd because TNR published what is probably Fussell’s most famous essay, in 1981, about the morality of going nuclear on Japan. Originally published with the humdrum title “Hiroshima: A Soldier’s View,” it served as the hook for Fussell’s famous collection Thank God for the Atom Bomb and Other Essays. I went to TNR‘s website to try to reread the original essay and especially the awesome back-and-forth between Fussell and his critics. Couldn’t find it. I finally found a copy and am going through it now. This round goes, deservedly, to Google.