The name James Chapin may not be familiar to many Dissent readers. He didn’t write a great deal for the magazine. Until the last year or so of his life—when he turned out superb political analysis for an unlikely outlet, United Press International—he didn’t publish much anywhere. No matter. For the many who knew him at Dissent—and at every level of political life in Washington and New York—James was one of the most brilliant and provocative thinkers we have ever met. And he was also one of the kindest and most decent of men. Most people knew him as “Jim.” Since I was lucky to have known him all my life, he was and will forever be “James.”
Jim Chapin is his father, a well-known drummer, w...
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