In Memoriam Man on a Mission: Dr. Steven Carol (1942-2017) by David Isaac

 

On Oct. 21, 2017, historical truth lost a great advocate. Dr. Steven Carol passed away of heart troubles. He was 75. He leaves behind a wife and two children. To Phoenix, Arizona residents Dr. Carol was best known for his radio guest appearances on KKNT 960 AM’s “The Middle East Radio Forum,” a weekly show where he served as Associate Producer and Official Historian.

Dr. Carol authored four books, including Middle East Rules of Thumb, Encyclopedia of Days: Start the Day With History, From Jerusalem to the Lion of Judah and Beyond: Israel’s Foreign Policy in East Africa since 1948, and his last book, which was also his masterwork, Understanding the Volatile and Dangerous Middle East, which we reviewed in these pages last year. The magisterial 1,000-page tome covers virtually every aspect of the Middle East and includes maps and charts Dr. Carol drew himself (he had attended Brooklyn Tech and could have easily become an engineer if not for his passion for history). Something from Brooklyn Tech must have rubbed off. Dr. Carol brought an engineer-like exactness to his chosen profession.

Steven Carol

What few know is that Dr. Carol’s major accomplishments all came in the last 15 years of his life. He had been a high school teacher. (In 1987, New York State named Dr. Carol “Outstanding Teacher.”) But he had to give it up. The reason is a dramatic one. In 2002, Dr. Carol underwent surgery for an aortic root aneurysm. His wife, Hadara, is convinced that her husband, who suffered high blood pressure, was pushed over the edge by the demand from a principal to raise the grade of a failing student, who also happened to be a star athlete, so that he would be eligible to play. Every teacher had agreed to do it. Only Dr. Carol refused.

The surgery involved cutting a 12-inch incision from his heart down to his belly. His wife recalls her astonishment when the surgeons informed her they weren’t sure that they had correctly reconnected him. (Over 100 connections were involved.) Dr. Carol lay unresponsive in the ICU for 60 days. The doctors finally told his wife to pull the plug. Although she and her husband had agreed to such a recourse ahead of time, she struggled with the decision and found herself unable to do it. Though not a devout woman, she prayed to God: “Don’t keep him here for me. Don’t keep him here for the children. Keep him here for his work.” Dr. Carol woke shortly afterward. His first words: “Where the hell am I?”

It took Dr. Carol the next three years to fully recover his memory and to be able to walk again. But then he went on a tear, producing books, speaking at churches, synagogues and universities and associate-producing the “The Middle East Radio Forum.” Unfortunately, Dr. Carol’s troubles were not over. Having already lost the sight in one eye due to complications from his aneurysm operation, blood pressure medicine provided by his doctor severely damaged the other. He was legally blind. Even this did not stop him as he set up an enormous television screen as his computer monitor and continued to work 15-hour days. He was a man on a mission. That mission, says his wife, “was to tell the truth, to spread knowledge.”

Hadara is selling copies of his final book Understanding the Volatile and Dangerous Middle East while supplies last. You can reach her via email at starlight18@cox.net or by phone: (480) 239-6367. The book costs $59.95 + shipping. Hadara is also looking for a new publisher for the book. If you can help in this regard or have suggestions, please contact her.

Dr. Carol will be missed. The bolo tie he wore suited him. He was a tough hombre.

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Editor: Rael Jean Isaac
Editorial Board: Herbert Zweibon, Ruth King

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