1952 - 2020
Kevin J. Coogan of Queens, New York died unexpectedly on February 27, 2020 at the age of 67. Kevin was an investigative journalist and author. His 1998 book, Dreamer of the Day: Francis Parker Yockey & The Postwar Fascist International, remains one of the most important works on post-war fascism.
Kevin grew up in a loving family in Philadelphia. His parents were both writers. Kevin easily gravitated to books and to writing.
As a high school student, Kevin joined an American New Left faction, Students for a Democratic Society. After matriculating at Sarah Lawrence College, Kevin joined the National Caucus of Labor Committees (NCLC). He left school and drove a cab three nights a week to keep financially afloat. As he put it, after a while, "driving a cab in the middle of the night in 1970s New York was in a way a paid vacation" from what he came to view as a "pretty nasty cult." In 1979 Kevin quit the NCLC. He wrote critical essays and published several books online about the NCLC's leader, Lyndon LaRouche
Kevin returned to Sarah Lawrence in 1979 and earned his degree four years later. Thus, began his life as a freelance writer. Kevin received a grant to research in Europe resulting in a 1986 cover story for Mother Jones magazine that he co-wrote. In 1998, he completed Dreamer of the Day, a biography of an enigmatic figure, not well known except to those who study the far right. In 2004, Kevin presented at the International Institute for Social History in Amsterdam on transnational political networks in the 1950s. His articles appeared in The Village Voice and in a British academic journal, Patterns of Prejudice, among other publications. Kevin worked as a freelance copy-editor and in-house book reviewer for Routledge, a British publishing company based in London. He reviewed books in French and English on European postwar politics. Kevin recently completed a book about a Polish spy who defected to America in the 1960s and a book on the Japanese Red Army.
Kevin loved his adopted city, New York. His urban hikes took him to Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan satisfying his long-standing interest in the history of New York.
His friends remember Kevin for his wit, intelligence, great conversations, brilliant research skills, and generosity in sharing his research and knowledge with them. His family remembers him for his kindness, easy laughter, and his love of family.
Now and then, we are blessed to find ourselves in the presence of someone with knowledge both broad and deep, who can hold forth effortlessly, on any topic - European or American history, 19th and 20th century politics, movies, music, New York City, the age of the Vikings, the Philadelphia Eagles and military history.
Kevin traveled to Vermont every Thanksgiving to be with his sister Nell, her husband Christopher Ekman, nieces Emily and Isabel Ekman, and his nephew, Avery Ekman. He leaves that family behind.
His passing came too soon. We will miss him so.
Published in New York Times from Mar. 16 to Mar. 17, 2020.