Richard Rodriguez Remembers Historian Franz Schurmann

Historians in the News

EDITOR’S NOTE [FROM NEW AMERICAN MEDIA]: Eminent scholar and historian Franz Schurmann, who co-founded Pacific News Service in 1970, passed away on August 20, 2010. Richard Rodriguez, a long-time editor and writer with PNS, remembered him in a powerful eulogy delivered Sept. 19 at UC Berkeley Alumni House.

Franz Schurmann was a terrible driver.

I remember once, after lunch, in his car, he was still talking about the Peloponnesian War or Richard Nixon in China or the spiritual energy, he predicted, would come from Latin America and wash over our gringo nation of drug users—and he ran a red light at Arguello. Horns. Fingers. Franz drove on.

His father died when Franz was 13 years old.

People say about children who suffer the trauma of a parent’s death early in life, that they often are filled with anger at the injustice of life or an out-sized appetite for life. Franz was often angry, always hungry....
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