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July 5: Victor Navasky

Lawrence Bush
July 4, 2016

Victor-Navasky-copyVictor Saul Navasky, editor of The Nation from 1978 to 1995 and its publisher and co-owner from 1994 until 2005, was born in New York on this date in 1932. Navasky is director of the Delacorte Center of Magazines at the Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, and chairs the Columbia Journalism Review. A graduate of Swarthmore and Yale Law School, he worked for the New York Times before his leftwing politics pushed him towards greener fields. His several books include Naming Names (1980), a definitive account of the Hollywood blacklist during McCarthyism, which won a National Book Award, and A Matter of Opinion, a memoir of journalism that won the 2005 George Polk Book Award. During his nearly three decades at the helm of The Nation, the weekly magazine more than doubled its circulation to 200,000, secured its financial footing, and became the American left’s most authoritative voice. To see him talking about the history of political cartoons (based on his 2013 book, The Art of Controversy), look below.

““I was extremely aware that I didn’t want to be the one who brought this great institution down. Because of its great heritage, it couldn’t be written off as radical fringe. It had politics that were beyond the mainstream, but it was part of the woodwork of the establishment.” --Victor Navasky

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.