The world has lost a great man who dedicated his life to the pursuit of truth and justice, whether delving into the depths of the Pentagon bureaucracy, the thorniest Middle East conflicts, American literary history, baseball, or just about any topic that grabbed his attention. Mark Perry was a dear friend, a source of endless insights, and a person who never drew the line between active engagement and dispassionate analysis. He did both and made lasting contributions that will impact long after his untimely passing this week at the age of 70.

For years, Mark was actively involved in pursuing dialogue between intractable Middle East adversaries. Through the Conflict Forum which he co-founded, he brought scores of American diplomats, think tankers and intelligence officials to meet with leaders of Hezbollah, Hamas, and various Lebanese political factions. This gave the participants a human depth of insight that is so difficult to convey without person-to-person contact.

Mark earned the trust of many American military leaders because of his honesty and integrity. He gave voice to their views without spin or embellishment and as the result, he was always in a unique position to give his timely and informed insights during many wonderful breakfast and lunch get-togethers at the Tysons Corner Silver Diner or Summers at Courthouse Square in Arlington.

Mark was always open to learning. When he was writing his biography of General Douglas MacArthur, he admitted that he went into the project with a bias against MacArthur, but after spending enormous time reading through the MacArthur archives, he came away with a totally different view, which he brilliantly presented. This book followed his groundbreaking biography of Marshall and Eisenhower–Partners in Command.

No one can claim to understand the complexities of the Iraq War without reading his Talking With Terrorists, a polemical title of a book that was half history and half memoir about his own active work with the Palestinians going back to his unique relationship with Yasser Arafat.

Mark was such a talent that his analytical pieces were published in a wide range of places, from Politico, Foreign Policy, Quincy Institute, to The American Conservative. He will be sorely missed by family, friends, and the millions of people he touched through his writings.

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  1. robt willmann says:

    Thank you very much for this reference. Mark Perry is not an uncommon name, and so the copyright office has 127 entries. Published works that may apply to him include: Grant and Twain: The story of a Friendship that Changed America. Four Stars. The Most Dangerous Man in America. The Pentagon’s Wars. Partners in Command: George Marshall and Dwight Eisenhower in War and Peace. Talking to Terrorists. A Fire in Zion: The Israeli-Palestinian Search for Peace. Eclipse: The Last Days of the CIA. There may be others, including what looks like a Rand Corporation study.

  2. sbin says:

    Sorry for your loss!
    Sounds like he lived a great life.
    Will add his works to my reading list.

  3. LeaNder says:

    Be well, Harper,
    my condolenses to friends, as you, and family. Mark was my age, slightly younger month-wise.

    Curt Mills, American Conservative:

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