Cultural Revolutions

Amos Perlmutter, R.I.P.

As a man and scholar, Amos Perlmutter (1931-2001) stood out for his intellectual honesty, although rectitude in this case was wedded to a jovial personality and an unfailing wit. Having emigrated as a child alongside his parents and sister from Europe to Israel, Amos served his adopted country as a military officer. By all accounts, he had served in three Arab- Israeli wars, though he treated his military experiences in an offhanded way, without dwelling on the risks to life he had incurred. He came to the United States to complete his education, receiving a doctorate in political science at Harvard and subsequently teaching there and at American University. Among his 16 books and multitudinous articles are studies on authoritarian government and on the building of the Israeli armed forces, a biography of Menachem Begin, and an exploration of the troubled relations between FDR and Stalin (published in 1994 by the University of Missouri Press).

In all of his major work, Amos was never shy about expressing unfashionable views. In accordance with his stated reverence for George C. Patton, he displayed a martial disregard for the social implications of what he said and published. Despite his longtime association with the right in both Israel and the United States, Amos published a highly critical study of Israeli Premier Begin, whom he showed to be a whiny, inept successor of the earlier right-wing Jewish nationalist Zeev Jabotinsky....

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