George Mason University Professor of History, Dr. Martin Sherwin passed away on Wednesday, October 6. Dr. Sherwin was best known as a scholar of the Cold War and the Nuclear Age. He was a professor in the Department of History at George Mason from 2007 until his passing. He taught courses dealing with Cold War-era politics, diplomacy and culture, and history through film. One of his specialties was the history of the Atomic Bomb. In 1975 Sherwin wrote A World Destroyed: Hiroshima and its Legacies, which won National Historical Society’s American History Book Prize. In 2006 he and co-author Kai Bird shared the Pulitzer Prize for American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer, a biography of the father of the Atomic Bomb. His most recent book was Gambling with Armageddon: Nuclear Roulette from Hiroshima to the Cuban Missile Crisis, published in October 2020.
We best knew Dr. Sherwin, or “Marty” as he preferred to be called, as a colleague who moderated one of our yearly events that we hold with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI). The event, entitled Talking to History: Veterans Look Back on the Cuban Missile Crisis was well-attended and recorded to preserve the memories of our participants. Marty’s deep knowledge of Cold War history, as well as his experiences as a Naval Officer during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 made him a natural for leading the discussion between our three panelists. He deftly kept the conversation moving, while eliciting interesting details about the incident from each of our panelists. Clearly, two of Marty’s passions: speaking to veterans and learning more details about the American Cold War experience, were on display.
Dr. Sherwin was a widely-known writer of American Cold War history and a respected professor in the George Mason University Department of History. He was also a supporter of the University Libraries and very generous with his time and expertise. For that we thank him.
We will miss you, Marty.
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