Mandelstam, Myself Included
Although most of these stories are very personal, they are also essentially political, for, as
Susannah says, ―Everything I have ever done has been political.‖ What she means by
political always comes back to the personal, because what she calls ―home‖ is central to
her quest. In these stories one can sense the profound loss and devastation inflicted on
individuals, our nation, and the world by those unending wars we have been forced to
wage by those who have stolen our country. This is summed up in a beautiful one-line
paragraph that isn't even a sentence: ―This country that used to be our home.‖
―Home‖ takes on a deeper poignancy and richness in Lance, A Vietnam Vet: A Love
Story, her collection of poems about her love for a homeless vet who finds his home with
her until he leaves her with a loveless home. But though her loss is profound, the poems
preserve her love and her experience with this man who embodies so much of what she is
trying to tell us.
Perhaps Susannah sums up this book—and all her other achievements—most succinctly
in these words: ―If I have done anything in my life it has been to preserve the world and
H. Bruce Franklin
I have been lucky to know a lot of people with very high principles who were peace
activists. Among them were academics, artists, and writers, and veterans. Noam
Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Staughton Lynd, Dave Dellinger. H. Bruce Franklin. Einstein,
Meyer Schapiro, David Reisman, Richard Wilbur, and Stephen Sandy have been among
my acquaintances and influences. They have inspired my life and formed my beliefs.
In the Preface to The Lyrical Ballads Wordsworth has a section titled ―Love of Nature
Leading to Love of Man‖. I was born in Randolph, Vermont on eighty acres of farmland
and wild pasture and we had the place for many years. I grew up there and in New York
City. Nature is very important in my life and should be in every child's life. Living in the
country makes one feel free and develops one's soul in ways that are not possible in an
urban setting. I was very lucky in this way also.
In 1966, when I was a student at Harvard, I went on a trip to Vietnam with Students for a
Democratic Society (SDS). That trip changed my life. It is described in detail in the
chapter ―Hanoi‖ in my memoir, Earth, Air, Fire and Water: A Memoir of the Sixties and
Beyond. There was a bombing raid and I got separated from my group. As a result I met
Ho Chi Minh. That meeting is described in this book.
In 2003 I flew to Iraq and saw an ambulance blowing up. This inspired me to do my
collection of essays, Peace Not Terror.