Paul Fussell


For social historian and critic Paul Fussell, the most enduring moments of truth came when he was a 20-year-old platoon leader in France during World War II. German shrapnel tore up his back and thigh. The blood and guts of fellow soldiers were spewed on him. His staff sergeant died in his arms....

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This is late, but so was my published tribute to Dr. Fussell, out this week in various news outlets. As a former Army officer and current journalist, Paul Fussell's writings influenced me deeply in all my professional endeavors. I did not always agree with him, but am very grateful American culture had him for 50 years. Since I can't submit copyrighted material, here is a link to my column on him:

In the late '50's and early '60's, shortly after he came to Rutgers, I had the good fortune to be a student of Paul Fussell's in a range of courses from a small freshman Honors Seminar to his graduate seminar in Augustan Literature. He was the best teacher I ever had, not only because of his brilliance, but also because of his intellectual incorruptibility and the discipline he demanded of his students ("Late papers are never acceptable.") His criticism could be withering, but his...

Fussell was a great classroom teacher. I was fortunate enough to have him as my freshman English teacher and then later as my teacher of 18th-century British literature. He fully engaged the class and made every meeting an exciting intellectual experience. His death is a great loss.

Paul Fussell: His personal military history was included in the US Army leadership manual in the late 1980s. His insights on combat made a tremendous impact on me, and I used his "lessons" in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. I continue to use his "lessons" as a US History teacher today. I will never forget what he taught me about real combat and how good life is!

I was introduced to Paul Fussell's writing via his works 'Wartime' and 'Doing Battle', and realized instantly that he was an author of the finest caliber.
His WW II testimonial in the Ken Burns 2007 documentary: 'The War' was rivetting.
Maybe the finest essay written about the controversial end of that conflict is:
'Thank God for the Atomic Bomb'; as someone here already said, it is a must-read.
He enriched so many with his razor-sharp wit and honesty. He will be terribly...

Paul Fussell was my intellectual hero since I took my first class with him in 1955 at Rutgers He supervised my Henry Rutgers thesis and then I took his graduate seminar in 18th century English. My son then took his class 30 years later at Penn. His public intellectual life was exemplary. He will be missed. Deepest sympathies to the Fussell family. Stephen Wertheimer

May the God of comfort be with you during this difficult time.