Stepan, Alfred, 1936-2017

by Archie Brown FBA

30 Oct 2019
Number of pages
38 (pages 411–447)

A fine boxer in his youth; an active duty officer in the US Marine Corps who spent the 1962 missile crisis at sea, 20 miles off the Cuban coast, in readiness to invade the island; a Marine officer in Vietnam; a special correspondent of The Economist who predicted the Brazilian military coup of March 1964; a Chicago native urged by the city’s machine politicians to take over the seat of a retiring Democratic Congressman (with hints of a Senate opening to come); a professor who had a six-hour meeting with Fidel Castro in Havana (and a box of Cuban cigars from the revolutionary leader); the holder of prestigious chairs and deanships at Yale, Columbia and Oxford; the first President and Rector of the Central European University in Budapest; Chairman of the Board of the Richard Tucker Music Foundation – this would sound like an implausible combination for a character in a novel. Alfred Stepan, best known for his contributions to the comparative study of politics, did all these things and more.

Posted to Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the British Academy, XVIII

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