About Leslie Sussan

leslie sussan

My Story

Leslie A. Sussan was born and raised in Manhattan, and now lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with her daughter Kendra and their cat, Neko-chan. She graduated from Bryn Mawr College and Georgetown Law School.

Over a long career as an attorney, she litigated for the U.S. Department of Justice, represented migrant farmworkers and abused children, and has now served for fourteen years as an administrative appellate judge for the federal government.

She attends Friends Meeting in Maryland. She and Kendra lived in Hiroshima for a year in 1987-88.

Leslie Sussan and Neko-chan

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Choosing Life brings together generations and cultures: the voice a soldier of humble means and unique ambition who came to play a central role in the recording and documentation of Hiroshima, the musings and accounts of his pacifist daughter who opposed yet loved him a generation later, and last through the stories and glimpses of some of those who survived the nuclear bombings that concluded WWII. And in exploring these voices, this history points out the seams in the things many contemporary histories claim are monolithic: the idea “greatest generation” that fought and lived on without regrets and was universally honored thereafter for its sacrifices, the narrative of the “peace children” who could make no peace with their parents, whose pacifist ideas had no basis in realism, or who never came to understand or value what their parents had been through, and finally the image of Japan that went from implacable culturally uniform enemy to conformist military ally and economic rival. This book belongs in our archives as a companion to the records of nuclear conflict, the legacy of a (thus far successful) American and international peace movement, and a selection of first-person voices from a complex and dark part of our history. As a veteran who still struggles to balance the perspectives of my dogged yet sunny WWII veteran grandparents and a hard bitten and cynical Vietnam veteran stepfather, I prize this book as both a source of answers and questions.

– SAM PICKANDS, MAJ. US (RET.)

Choosing Life Book

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