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Steve Hinnefeld
University Communications

Last modified: Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Author Ron Rosenbaum to speak at Indiana University on ethics of nuclear war

Sept. 27, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Ron Rosenbaum, a highly regarded journalist and the author of books on topics as diverse as Hitler, Shakespeare and the modern-day risk of nuclear war, will present a free lecture at Indiana University Bloomington next month.

Rosenbaum, who writes The Spectator column for the online magazine Slate, will speak Oct. 11 at 7:30 p.m. in the Dogwood Room of the Indiana Memorial Union, 900 E. Seventh St. The topic: "The Ethics of Armageddon: Moral Issues in the Threat and Use of Nuclear Weapons."

The lecture takes place under the auspices of the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and is co-sponsored by the Hutton Honors College. It is part of the College of Arts and Sciences Themester 2011: "Making War, Making Peace."

Rosenbaum also will speak to a class taught by Alvin Rosenfeld, director of the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism, about the research conducted for his 1998 book Explaining Hitler: The Search for the Origins of His Evil, a required text for the course.

The topic of Rosenbaum's public lecture follows from his most recent book, How the End Begins: The Road to a Nuclear World War III, published this year. Rosenbaum explores decades of history, including near failures of Cold War deterrence policies, and focuses on the risk of uncontrolled nuclear war in the Middle East, where nuclear-armed Israel is surrounded by hostile nations and threatened by Iran's nuclear ambitions and Pakistan's development of the bomb.

"Ron Rosenbaum is an author who likes to ask inconvenient questions," Richard Rhodes writes in the New York Times Sunday Book Review. "He has untombed the secrets of the Yale secret society Skull and Bones, tumbled among contending Shakespeare scholars and rappelled into the bottomless darkness of Adolf Hitler's evil. But nothing has engaged his attention more fervently than doomsdays real or threatening, especially the Holocaust and nuclear war. Both catastrophes ominously interlink here."

Journalist Jeffrey Goldberg says, "Ron Rosenbaum might qualify for the title of America's greatest living journalist. He is certainly a hero to an entire generation of writers. No matter the subject, Rosenbaum asks the hardest questions, draws out the most fascinating and unexpected answers, and never, ever gives up."

An investigative journalist whose articles and essays have appeared in Harper's, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New York Times Magazine and The New York Observer, Rosenbaum spent more than 10 years conducting research for Explaining Hitler. He is also the author of The Shakespeare Wars, Travels with Doctor Death and Manhattan Passions: True Tales of Power, Wealth and Excess and the editor of Those Who Forget the Past: The Question of Anti-Semitism.