This article was written by Steven S. Drachman, with contributions from Alan Levy’s wife, Helene Levy.
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Our friend and colleague, Alan N. Levy, has died suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 76, on July 14, while returning home from an Alaska vacation with his wife, Helene. Alan was a skilled, ingenious and incorrigibly opinionated political columnist and author of an upcoming geo-political thriller, The Tenth Plague.
Alan was born in Chicago, Illinois. He graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1961 and received a Master’s Degree from the University of Illinois in 1967. As a young man, he was active in the Boy Scouts and developed an unending love of the outdoors and fishing. Alan was an athlete and especially enjoyed playing basketball, among other sports. Alan began his career in computers, as an engineer. He had a long career in the automotive industry, and then in healthcare.
Late career as a novelist
In the last year of his life, Alan’s novel was acquired by Chickadee Prince Books, the small press located in Brooklyn, New York. The Tenth Plague is scheduled for publication on September 15.
The novel, which addresses the dangers of a nuclear Iran, was praised by Kirkus Reviews, which called the novel, a “political thriller that imagines a world brought to the brink of nuclear war by an Iranian plot to attack Israel and the United States…. Debut author Levy sets the story in 2028, a world that’s seen a brutal reprisal of the 9/11 attacks on America, ceaseless turmoil in the Middle East, and a bellicose Russia, still led by a ruthless Vladimir Putin. The prose is clear and crisp, and the action is relentless, fueled by a combination of brooding cynicism and the imminent prospect of catastrophe. Overall, this is a bombastic and cinematic thriller … Fleet and dramatic.”
Amos Lassen, an online blogger, and former member of the Israeli military, wrote, of The Tenth Plague, “Even though we know that what we are reading is fiction, the author is that good that he can create a sense of unease. Sentence after sentence possessed the wow factor, and I surprised myself by my reaction. Not all thrillers will be as good as this. As one who logged many years in the Israel Defense Forces, nothing is implausible.”
A recent endeavor: political columnist
Alan had also begun in recent months to write “An American’s Perspective,” a blog for The Times of Israel, where he focused on Iran, among other topics, and relentlessly pushed his view that Iran wished not only to obtain nuclear weapons, but to use them. At the end of June, Alan wrote, in a column that was shared 72 times, “If Iran is allowed to purchase or develop nuclear weapons, I remain convinced they will use them. And they do not need to be blustery about their capabilities. While the Russian bear pounds its chest and China’s drummers deafeningly beat two thousand drums, it will be tragic if the United States fails to see that wide receiver calmly awaiting his moment of glory.” And in the pages of Audere just recently, Alan remarked, “Israelis have only one choice: attack in defense of their nation. To wait until Iran unleashes nuclear weapons is absurd, and that’s the core of the decisions indicated in my novel.”
Alan also sparred in the pages of Audere with a liberal columnist who writes under the name Alon Preiss. Upon hearing the news of Alan’s death this week, Alon Preiss said, “He was really a genuinely great writer, and in any just world, he would already be recognized as one of our most skilled purveyors of thrillers. I loved his book, which is really exciting and suspenseful, and I agreed with him about the threat that Iran represents to the world, even though I disagreed with him about almost every other thing he ever wrote or said. Still, it was fun to argue with him. I thought that in coming months and years, we would debate all the issues of the day in Audere. I imagined us becoming something like those left/right columnists in the New York Times. It would have been fun. I’m really going to miss him.”
A resident of Panama Beach, Florida, Alan fled the city to escape Hurricane Michael. Reflecting on the experience later, he wrote, “It will not take weeks for this little city to recover; it will take years. There is an incredible flow of law enforcement and military personnel into this area, together with thousands of workmen, and they are attempting a herculean task in their efforts to assist our community. It is true that when Americans put their differences aside and work together toward a common goal, greatness prevails. And I see that every day here.”
Alan is survived by two daughters, Susie Richter (Scott) and Samantha Hefner (Nathan) and four grandchildren, Ross, Alec, Mallory, and Everly, and by wife of 32 years, Helene Levy and her children, Leigh Whatley (Bill), Amy Obermeyer (Roger), Chuck Antignane, Chris Antignane, John Antignane and 4 step-grandchildren, Jeremy (Lizzie), Ryan, Laney and Carter, and one step-great-granddaughter, Emerson.
Alan N. Levy was a political columnist at Audere and blogger at The Times of Israel, and the author of The Tenth Plague, an acclaimed geo-political thriller that focuses on a future with a nuclear-armed Iran, coming in September from Chickadee Prince Books. The book is available right now for pre-order in paperback at your local bookstore, from Amazon and B&N, and also on Kindle.
This obituary was first published in Audere Magazine.