Eugene Genovese, 82, esteemed Civil War and slavery historian who penned Roll, Jordan, Roll, died Sept. 26. A former “avowed Marxist,” Genovese and his late wife Elizabeth Fox-Genovese moved from left to right, converting to Roman Catholicism and realigning as cultural conservatives.
“Moon River” crooner Andy Williams died Sept. 25 at age 84. Williams, who as a young child began honing his singing skills in his family’s church choir, hosted NBC’s musical-variety television series The Andy Williams Show from 1962 to 1971.
That’s the expression novelist Anne Rice, 70, used on an online video she posted Sept. 18 to announce her retreat from a profession of faith in Christ. The author for several decades of best-selling vampire novels, she wrote two novels in 2005 and 2008 about Jesus, and still says the second, Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana, is the best book she’s ever written. Rice said in her video, “I believe that there is a Higher Power, but what that Higher Power is, I do not know.” She added, “Christians who had welcomed me onto TV shows, radio shows, who had written supportive reviews, who had recommended them to other people—I knew I was going to disappoint them.”
A British High Court judge halted plans to extradite radical cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri, 54, to the United States, where he faces allegations of helping kidnap Western hostages in Yemen and plotting to form a terrorist training camp in Oregon. Just days earlier the European Court of Human Rights had cleared the way for the extradition of al-Masri and four other terrorist suspects.
An Israeli court handed down a nearly $20,000 fine and one-year suspended prison sentence to former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, 67, after convicting him on charges of breach of trust. The corruption case had forced Olmert to step down from his post in 2008 and cleared the way for Benjamin Netanyahu’s succession. The relatively light sentence allows the possibility of a political comeback; Israel’s general election is slated for next year.
German officials are investigating a Philadelphia man accused of acting as an SS guard at Auschwitz during World War II. Johann “Hans” Breyer, 87, has confessed to working as a perimeter guard outside the death camp and said he was aware of what was going on inside, but insists, “I didn’t kill anybody, I didn’t rape anybody—and I don’t even have a traffic ticket here. I didn’t do anything wrong.” The U.S. Justice Department had previously attempted to strip Breyer of his U.S. citizenship and deport him over suspicion he lied about his Nazi past when applying for immigration.
John Silber, 86, for 25 years the president of Boston University, died Sept. 27. He is credited with rebuilding the private college at a time of student turmoil, raising academic standards, balancing the budget, and having arrested student protesters who broke the law.