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Response to Daniel Pipes Remembering Professor Richard Pipes

Reader comment on item: NYT: Richard Pipes, Historian of Russia and Reagan Aide, Dies at 94

Submitted by Chris Beal (United States), Jun 11, 2018 at 22:15

Dear Daniel,

Thank you so much for sharing your experience of the great man who was also your Father.

Hard for me to be sure, because you are so modest and understating, that you fully realize how alone he was for many years.

In 1960-1, during and after his lectures, I never heard anyone be skeptical about the USSR - he was alone, and his nuanced, subtle sense of humor while isolated insisted on respect and consideration for his statements from people who did not want to agree.

He gained laughter, rueful at times, from students who resisted the dark side of his findings, while forced to acknowledge his intellect as manifested through his subtle humor.

Your candor about life at home makes me appreciate all the more the strength it took for him to say what few wanted to hear (none, as far as I could tell that year). And say it with a quiet, confident smile.

Yes, it was apparent that he enjoyed fully European pleasures and culture – yet I NEVER heard him disparage America or Americans. Professors and students around him were claiming superiority to America and Americans every day, he I never heard him do so even once.

The photo you included of him in uniform recalls how he would stand momentarily, feet just a bit apart, when he would shift from one topic to another.

Yes, he had a slight accent, yet far more important were his superlative enunciation and timing - no one could misunderstand a word.

In his shoes, you would have done as well; haven't come across anyone else who did.

May you triumph and prosper as he did.

Best,
Chris

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