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John L. Hess, who died on January 21 at 87, contributed more than twenty articles to this magazine. A series he wrote on Social Security is as fresh today as when it appeared in 1990. John was a dissident; he was not, however, "cranky," as the New York Times, where he was a reporter for twenty-five years, said in an obituary. A soft-spoken, witty, almost courtly man, he enjoyed good food and watching spaghetti westerns. But you didn't let that pleasant surface fool you: He was fiercely committed to progressive beliefs--a source of contretemps between him and various editors at the Times, from which he prematurely retired in 1978. His career is engagingly recounted in his last book, My Times: A Memoir of Dissent, which should be a required journalism school text on how not to be an organization man. * We also note the loss of another Nation friend, economist Robert Heilbroner, a superb popularizer in the best sense, who gave us articles on subjects as varied as Clintonomics and the future of socialism, always in lucid, down-to-earth prose.

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Title Annotation:In Fact...
Publication:The Nation
Article Type:Obituary
Date:Feb 14, 2005
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