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About David Keppel

DAVID KEPPEL is a writer and peace activist.  Born in Rome, Italy, he is the son of a U.S. Foreign Service Officer.  He grew up in Washington, DC, Rio de Janeiro, and New York City.  He was educated at the Phillips Exeter Academy, Winchester College (the English public school) and New College, Oxford.  He received a B.A., M.A. with First Class Honors in English Language and Literature from Oxford.  David was a member of the National Strategy Committee of the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign and is author of 89 published letters on peace and disarmament in The New York Times.  He lives in Bloomington, Indiana.    

Father & Son

David Keppel began this project forty years ago, when he was still in school.  His father, John Keppel, was a United States Foreign Service Officer and one of the State Department’s most brilliant Kremlinologists, students of the arcane rituals of Soviet power where the lineup of a parade or the detailed wording of an editorial was a clue to brutal power struggles in the Kremlin.  When David was six, instead of going back to Moscow, John became Political Counselor in Rio de Janeiro, where he was one of the American officials backing a right wing military coup d’etat against Brazil’s leftist President Joao Goulart.

John’s role in the coup brought him to a midlife crisis, and as David grew up, John invited him to collaborate in reinventing his career and his way of thinking.  When David was in school at Winchester College (the English “public school”) preparing for Oxford University, he suggested to John that he try to write the equivalent of Michel de Montaigne’s Essays for the present time.  That became the project that eventually led to this book, which was unpublishable in its early versions. 

David, who became a peace activist and a frequent voice for nuclear disarmament in the letters section of The New York Times, returned intensively to Creative Uncertainty a few years ago, encouraged by a friend convinced of its importance.  The result is this book, which is short and incomplete but which may serve as a springboard for an urgent global conversation.      

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