This political memoir reveals how Richard Falk became prominent in America and internationally as both a public intellectual and citizen pilgrim. Interwoven and enriched with personal accounts of his living, learning and loving in many parts of the world. Falk’s journey began with a comfortable, yet troubled, childhood in New York City that included a conservative political and secular background, leading on to an Ivy League education. From there, Falk built a life of progressive commitment, highlighted by visits to North Vietnam during the Vietnam War, to Iran during the Islamic Revolution, to South Africa at the height of the struggle against apartheid, and frequently to Palestine and Israel. This led to his enduring many defamatory attacks launched by militants defending U.S. foreign policy, and especially in reaction to his expressions of solidarity with the Palestinian struggle to achieve basic rights and a just peace. The assault reached its height during the six-year period when Falk served as UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Occupied Palestine.
Along the way, while a professor of international law at Princeton University, he has published more than 50 books on many scholarly topics, including studies of the profound dangers now facing humanity, the relevance of international law and the UN, and prospects for transforming world order in the direction of peace, justice, and ecological viability. His publications and activism describe various encounters with embedded American militarism, especially as expressed by governmental resistance to responsible efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons. In the course of his travels, teaching, and writing, Falk has dealt with many leading personalities around the world. Aside from a life of travel, commitment, and personal intimacy two themes have dominated his public roles—engaging with the controversies of the present and envisioning a future of world order that is humane and sensitive to ecological limits. To find coherence, he has published a book of poems, Waiting for Rainbows.