Bell, J(ohn) Bowyer 1931-2003

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BELL, J(ohn) Bowyer 1931-2003


See index for CA sketch: Born November 15, 1931, in New York, NY; died of kidney and liver failure August 23, 2003, in New York, NY. Historian, educator, artist, critic, and author. In academic circles, Bell was renowned as an expert on wars and terrorism in Ireland, Israel, and Italy, but in other circles he was also recognized as a talented artist and art critic. A graduate of Washington and Lee University, where he earned an A.B. in 1953, he went on to receive a master's degree in 1954 and a Ph.D. in 1958, both from Duke University. It was while at Duke that he traveled to Italy on a Fulbright fellowship to study art. Here he met the artist Cy Twombly, who would prove to be a major influence on him. But although he gained praise for his art from Twombly and exhibited at the Allan Stone Gallery during his college years, Bell opted for a practical career as an academician. During the mid-1960s he was an associate professor of history at the New York Institute of Technology, and during this time he became fascinated with Ireland and the Irish Republican Army. He became a student of the IRA's struggles and interviewed many of its early leaders, work that resulted in his much-acclaimed The Secret Army: The IRA, 1916-1970 (1971), which he continued to update, most recently as The IRA, 1968-2000: Analysis of a Secret Army (2000). Bell also became an expert on the struggles in other countries, including Italy, Israel, and Cyprus. After a brief stint at the Center for International Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he joined Columbia University as a research associate at the Institute of War and Peace Studies in 1973, where he became an adjunct professor. Despite his growing expertise in other areas of the world, however, Bell repeatedly returned to Ireland to study the IRA, and often exhibited his artwork in Dublin. In the 1990s he also started a career in art criticism, contributing to magazines such as Review. In recent years, Bell was also president of the International Analysis Center consulting firm. His many other books about war and terrorism include Cyprus: A Greek Tragedy (1974), A Time of Terror: How Democratic Societies Respond to Revolutionary Violence (1978), The Irish Troubles: A Generation of Violence, 1967-1992 (1993), Dragonwars: Armed Struggle and the Conventions of Modern War (1999), and Murders on the Nile: The World Trade Center and Global Terror (2003).



Independent (London, England), September 26, 2003, p. 20.

Washington Post, September 6, 2003, p. B7.

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Bell, J(ohn) Bowyer 1931-2003

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