I recently completed work on the manuscript for my fifth book, The War on Football: Saving America's Game. Regnery is the publisher and August 26 is the scheduled release date. People really like watching football. If a few fans also like reading about football, The War on Football will be a huge hit. Huge hits, if you haven't noticed, have got a lot of people thinking about football. Hysteria over concussions has parents pulling children from the field and a few moralistic scribes averting their eyes from it, too. But as the book argues, football is good for you. Not for the first time a public health crusade undermines public health. Relying on a melange of history, science, law, journalism, and literature, The War on Football offers something for everybody. From stars of women's professional football to NFL strike replacement players, people and their stories convey the book's larger points. It's a fun read on a popular subject. Amazon is taking pre-orders now. What are you waiting for?
I have good news for readers who know me more as an author than a blogger or columnist. For the last several months, I have been writing a book, which will be my fifth. Even before I officially started on it, I had been writing on the subject, which, thank God, is far afield from my more political work. Writing a book on politics would be masochistic during this depressing moment. But moments pass. At some point soon in the new year I will reveal the topic and title. Expect the book to come out in the second half of next year. Hopefully, people will still read books then. Regnery is the publisher.
"From the very first page it's apparent that this is a personal, idiosyncratic project for Mr. Flynn, who previously made his mark with such explicitly political fare as A Conservative History of the American Left and Intellectual Morons," writes Robert Dean Lurie @ the American Culture. "Regardless of topic, Flynn always presents his ideas in a catchy, epigrammatic style that lends itself well to being read aloud." I read those nice words aloud as a mantra to pull myself from the doldrums. Please read the longer piece @ The American Culture--a publication worth checking out--that is part review, part interview. The author of the piece is also the author of a book on The Church--not that church, this one--and its lead singer.
Matt Rarey's University Bookman review calls Blue Collar Intellectuals "a red-hot read for people who believe a life of the mind is best lived while living life in the real world rather than chasing rainbows down rabbit holes." The review, somewhat uncomfortably for me, writes me into my own book as a blue collar intellectual. I like writing about other writers lives more than I like other writers writing about my life! Read the review at the University Bookman.
C-SPAN2's Book TV airs my "Blue Collar Intellectuals" lecture this Saturday at noon (ET) and 9 p.m. (ET). For my stalkers, there will be a special airing at 3 a.m. (ET) on Sunday. The network shot my Georgetown University lecture for broadcast about two weeks back. A lively and intelligent discussion sparked by audience questions follows the talk. The program, sponsored by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute and Georgetown's Tocqueville Forum, runs about one hour. I encourage you to watch the lecture. I encourage you to buy my book.
UPDATE: All air times referenced in this post are Eastern.
The Daily Caller features me in an article on Rick Santorum's comments challenging the wisdom of everybody going to college. The piece interweaves the unorthodox educational routes of the subjects of Blue Collar Intellectuals with the current controversy. "College is not for everybody--but more importantly--everybody is not for college," I told The DC's Matt Lewis. "When you open up the gates of universities without regard to aptitude, the result is to drag the school's down to the lowest common denominator, rather than uplift the dim." Read the full article here.
Have you read "Blue Collar Intellectuals" yet? Cal Thomas has. I know this because he has a nice column on the book today. That's a big deal. A Media Matters study a few years back listed Thomas as the America's second-most-widely-syndicated columnist. He appears in more than 300 newspapers, ahead of everybody--Ellen Goodman, David Broder, Charles Krauthammer, everybody--save for George Will. Millions of people read Thomas's column. A few of those people will go ahead and read my book after reading his column about my book. That's a good feeling. In the military we would call this a "force multiplier."
Human Events TV features a multi-part discussion between Jason Mattera and myself on my new book, Blue Collar Intellectuals: When the Enlightened and the Everyman Elevated America. The freewheeling conversation touches upon Milton Friedman, Cornel West, and the evolution of public libraries. Watch Part 1 here. Watch Part 2 here.
Some reviews you get the impression that the reviewer has merely read the dust jacket--not so with this extremely thorough piece from Arnold Ahlert at FrontPageMag. If you want to get a better idea on some of the figures covered by my book before you buy my book, read Alhert's piece. And I hope you will buy the book--if not for yourself then for someone on your Christmas list. Buy Blue Collar Intellectuals here now.
Promotion for Blue Collar Intellectuals has commenced. I've appeared on a half dozen radio programs in all corners of the country talking about the book over the last couple of days. Online attention comes from Campus Report's review by Mal Kline, Coffee & Markets' interview podcast, and an excerpt from ISI Books. Unlike my previous books, which generally work well as insult presents--"Merry Christmas nutjob! Here's your copy of 'Why the Left Hates America'!--Blue Collar Intellectuals is more in the spirit of the season. Most would be flattered to be called a "blue collar intellectual"; and the rest are just snobs. So please support my work by supplying the blue-collar intellectual in your life with a copy of my new book (buy it here). Thank you and Merry Christmas!
The wait is over. Blue Collar Intellectuals: When the Enlightened and the Everyman Elevated America (buy it here now) is finally available. It makes a great Christmas gift for the blue-collar intellectual in your life. Reviews are in at the Washington Times and the American Spectator. For a thumbnail sketch of the book, please listen to John J. Miller's podcast @ National Review Online. It's worth nine minutes of your time. And Blue Collar Intellectuals, so readable at less than 200 pages, is definitely worth the few sittings it will take to finish. Take it from me: I wrote it!
I received a shipment of hardback copies of Blue Collar Intellectuals (buy it here) yesterday. They look sharp. The spine has just enough girth to contain my name horizontally and my book's title vertically. The cover's length and width are smaller than my other books, which makes sense given that it is my shortest one. I've been especially blessed over the years with some creative cover designs, which I have never had anything to do with. The pinwheel beanie on the Intellectual Morons dust jacket captured that book in an image. So, too, I think does the tool box stuffed with books on the dust jacket of Blue Collar Intellectuals. There is always a special feeling when the first copies of a book arrive off the press. Unlike talk radio, campus lectures, or even blogging, there is no interpersonal reward--from callers, the audience, or posters--from writing a book. It's a long and lonely business. So there is great satisfaction in seeing and even feeling the final product. I once knew a guy who smelled books. I don't take my bibliophilia that far. Anyhow, the best part of this, or any, book, is inside. I hope you get a chance to see and feel--and even smell--this book. And I hope that entices you to read it.
Blue Collar Intellectuals, my fourth book, becomes available in less than two weeks. I'm told that around the country people are already camping in front of stores. These spontaneous storefront tributes are appreciated, but you need not trouble yourself, particularly in the inclement weather. From the comfort of your own home, you can order Blue Collar Intellectuals: When the Enlightened and the Everyman Elevated America (do it here now!) over the world wide web. If you like my website, you will love my book. And with the holidays approaching, perhaps a blue collar intellectual on your Christmas list will appreciate the book as a gift. It's as much a compliment to the recipient as it is a present. Don't take my word for it. See what these esteemed smarticians have to say about Blue Collar Intellectuals....
"This book is not only an exciting story; it also corrects a terrible cultural mistake--the mistake of treating high culture, Great Books, and other canon-making visions of tradition as exploitative and spurious. Previous generations of intellectuals believed that our great cultural inheritance belonged to everyone, rich and poor, black and white and brown. Daniel Flynn's profiles revive that belief, and they mark a vital alternative to the complacent relativism of contemporary cultural stewards."
--Mark Bauerlein, best-selling author of The Dumbest Generation
"Flynn's case histories of a wonderful--and uniquely American--tradition of bringing learning to the masses offers us a morality tale in these times of spiraling tuition, esoteric publication, and an insular academia mostly cut off from wider society. The fascinating portraits here remind us how not so long ago an interest in making knowledge known beyond the campus was not antithetical to learning but the very essence of the true intellectual."
--Victor Davis Hanson, coauthor of Who Killed Homer? and The Bonfire of the Humanities
"Back in the middle decades of the twentieth century, millions of Americans supped at the table of high culture, learning history, philosophy, and economics from intellectual entrepreneurs like Will and Ariel Durant, Mortimer Adler, and Eric Hoffer. Daniel Flynn tells their story in Blue Collar Intellectuals--and tells us why we miss them today."
--Michael Barone, senior political analyst at the Washington Examiner, coauthor of The Almanac of American Politics
"Blue Collar Intellectuals powerfully evokes the lost era when the 'everyman' aspired to higher things and the defenders of high culture spoke and wrote in clear, accessible language. Flynn's deft historical profiles remind us that popular culture and the life of the mind need not be adversaries."
--Brian C. Anderson, editor of City Journal and author of South Park Conservatives
My fourth book, Blue Collar Intellectuals: When the Enlightened and the Everyman Elevated America, drops this fall. In the midst of several false starts with other prospective projects, I plugged away at this through 2009 and the first half of 2010, completing the main manuscript late last summer. This spring, a few days after I had written an introduction, the computer on which I had crafted the book crashed. God works in mysterious ways.
At a moment when Real Housewives of Topeka, World of Warcraft 28, and a congressman's weiner capture the imagination of the everyman, and the enlightened obsess over writing scholarly articles that nobody reads and conversing in an opaque, affected manner that few understand, Blue Collar Intellectuals is a book against its times. It remembers an era when intellectuals opened the conversation to all comers and the masses reached for something higher.
The book isn't very political. The five chapters focus on figures in diverse fields of varying outlooks. Milton Friedman was a champion of the free market; Will & Ariel Durant were socialists. The common denominator is that they dedicated a large part of their intellectual work toward uplifting the masses. And why shouldn't they? Friedman wasn't born into the University of Chicago economics department; the Durants didn't begin life on the bestseller lists. The same general idea holds true for Great Books enthusiast Mortimer Adler, longshoreman philosopher Eric Hoffer, and short-story writer Ray Bradbury. America is a better place when historians, philosophers, economists, and storytellers occasionally eschew the rarefied clique for a broader audience inclusive of the curious layman.
Writing Blue Collar Intellectuals was a white collar endeavor. I spent a great deal of time researching in archives. It's tedious work, but somebody has to do it--particularly when snobbish academics won't. This included trips to the University of Chicago and Syracuse University to comb through Mortimer Adler's papers; to the Hoover Archives on the Stanford University campus to research Milton Friedman; and to the San Francisco Public Library and the Hoover Archives to get to know the unknowable Eric Hoffer. I read many books and a few dissertations. But part of the appeal of writing this book is that plain-old intellectuals have written too few words on blue-collar intellectuals. I also spent many long hours on the phone, in homes, and on the gmail talking to people who furthered my understanding of the subjects.
But I assure you, all this white-collar work was done in a very blue-collar way. Unable to afford lodging, I camped out on one of the Finger Lakes in upstate New York when I examined boxes of archived materials at Syracuse. I piggy-backed further Adler research at Mr. Rockefeller's university upon a Second City lecture. Some new friends let me crash for an extended stay in the Bay Area when I researched at the Hoover Archives and the San Francisco Public Library. Awaiting the opening at the latter institution for several consecutive days, I was eventually mistaken by several of the urban nomads, whose morning routine also consisted of rushing the unlocked doors of the main branch, as one of their numbers utilizing the public library as a de facto daytime homeless shelter. I don't blame them. Shaving: erratic. Clothes: Goodwill chic. Stench: cigars. Daytime home: the library.
I wish I could say a beneficent foundation or a kindly millionaire bankrolled the activities that bankrupted me. I can't. But I can say that many good-hearted individuals made my travels possible. People are great.
I suppose I enjoyed writing Blue Collar Intellectuals so much because I can relate. Subjects for earlier books interested me because they were so alien; these half-dozen blue-collar intellectuals interested me we shared much in common--and because the combination of my background and interests makes me feel a bit of an alien. Before I became an author, I delivered the Boston Globe for five years, worked at Fenway Park for seven, profited as an occasional high-school ticket scalper and keg race organizer, and served in the Marines. That earlier life was followed by an adult life consumed by reading and writing. What had been a hobby became a vocation. I identify with my subjects. The average reader will more readily identify with them, too. People from ordinary backgrounds are capable of extraordinary accomplishments. The Durants, Adler, Hoffer, Friedman, and Bradbury prove this.
Intellectual leisure pursuits are often associated with wealth. They needn't be, though I understand where that view comes from. A few years back, while I read in a pub, a woman astonished with my barroom activities exclaimed that I "should be president or somethin'!" It dawned on me then how divorced working-class people have become to leisure activities involving the life of the mind. Merely reading a book seemed such extraordinary behavior to this woman that she thought I should preside over the government that presides over 310,000,000 people. Blue Collar Intellectuals explores a time when there wasn't such a gap between the interests of the everyman and of the enlightened.
Apart from being the least political of my books, Blue Collar Intellectuals differs from past offerings in other ways. It is the slimmest of my volumes. This is a very readable book. I do make some concessions to the times! My editor, Jed Donahue, is the same but the publisher, ISI Books, is new. Whereas my other books essentially examine their subjects from a critical perspective, Blue Collar Intellectuals appreciates. It's a positive, yet curmudgeonly, book. And for the first time a magazine article, "The Epic of the Durants" in the October 5, 2009 issue of National Review, served as the springboard for a broader book project. And that piece stemmed from a two-year, mid-'90s labor of love: reading the 11-volume Story of Civilization.
I encourage my freeloading internet followers to buy my book. You can do so by clicking through the book cover (Isn't it sharp!) on the right side of this page. Do this for the both of us.
I spent more than a year of my life writing Blue Collar Intellectuals. Will you take a few days of your life to read it?
Good news for FlynnFiles readers who are first and foremost readers of my books. I'm enjoying a productive run of book writing/research that began before Christmas and has extended well into the New Year. A fourth book is fast taking shape.
Success, in my case, does indeed have many fathers. One claimant to paternity is my new HP "netbook," a gift from Santa Claus. On my recent trip West, it was a Godsend. In archives and in restuarants, on the train and on a plane, at the airport and by my fireplace, the miniature computer enabled me to work more effectively and efficiently. The netbook has replaced the notebook. Each has benefits and drawbacks. On the one hand, no shifty-eyed train passenger ever coveted my notebooks the way they eyeball my netbook. On the other hand, I doubt I will ever lose my netbook the way I lost countless notebooks.
The decision to go West was another such catalyst. One trick of the trade: one must research before one can write. To write this book, it was necessary to conduct research at several venues--the Hoover Institution and the San Francisco Public Library being two. So many wonderful people were instrumental in making this trip happen. And it was a happening. I liken it to my winter venture to Europe back in '06, which transformed a case of writer's block into a case of carpal tunnel syndrome. Bleak winters, people speaking gibberish, and barrooms for miles have that effect on me. My San Francisco trip, I imagine, has done for this book what my European jaunt did for A Conservative History of the American Left.
Fortuitously, while conducting research at Stanford, I received an invitation to speak in Chicago. It just so happens I have pending research to conduct in the Windy City. Piggy-backing multiple purposes upon one trip is just about my favorite thing in the world. The added bonus that the trip is for the most part paid for is just frosting on the cake. You could say that I am on a winning streak.
Back East, I have negotiated a winter truce with the bats in my attic. Are they hiding in my walls? Have they journeyed to a Southern bat cave for the winter? I do not know. I only know they don't harrass me when I work. Added to the stimulating attic environment, is the reemergence of cigars. As was the case with Ayn Rand, Eric Hoffer, and so many of the writers that I am fascinated with, tobacco is a performance-enhancing drug for me. During the past five days, for instance, I've penned 2,700 words for my new book. This would be some kind of record if it were not for my testing positive for a PED (cigars). When asked by aspiring preteen writers what they must do to become a published author, I always advise them that they should take up smoking. Cigarettes, cigars, pipes--it really doesn't matter so long as it's some addictive tobacco product.
I anticipate a completed book by the end of Spring and a published book sometime early next year. With any luck, the remnant of book readers will not go extinct in the intervening period.
Gerald J. Russello accuses me of being a "journalist" in his University Bookman review of A Conservative History of the American Left, but makes up for the insult by labeling my book "wildly popular." Read the review here.
The deadline for Young America's Foundation's essay contest on A Conservative History of the American Left is fast approaching. If you are an undergraduate, or a high school senior, you are eligible for thousands of dollars in cash and prizes. I urge you to enter the competition by submitting an essay of 1,200 words or less by December 1. Here are the rules and relevant information. Here is the essay question: "Can there be an American Left? Since Robert Owen made his July 4, 1826, Declaration of Mental Independence from the trinity of the most monstrous evils--private property, traditional religion, and marriage--the Left has crusaded against numerous American cultural markers. Freedom, faith, family, and flag seem essential to the American experience but are often under attack by the Left. Using examples from Daniel J. Flynn's A Conservative History of the American Left, craft a 1,200 word essay outlining ways that American leftists have at times sought to conform to the surrounding culture and at other times rebel against it, ultimately answering the question: Can there be an American Left, or must radicals--by virtue of an alien ideology--be forever consigned to operating outside of the American mainstream?" First prize includes a $5,000 scholarship and a trip to Washington, DC. If you're a student, you'd be a sucker not to submit an entry. Good luck.
Michael New calls A Conservative History of the American Left "a real tour de force" in his review of it in Human Events. New writes, "[U]p until recently, no one has written a comprehensive history of the left from a conservative perspective. This void has been neatly filled by Dan Flynn's recent A Conservative History of the American Left." Why not go read my book and find out what Professor New is talking about?
NRO's John J. Miller's Between the Covers is a weekly podcast on books. In a dark age when the idea of serious reading means A.D.D. blogs, poorly written op-eds by the ever-expanding universe of syndicated columnists without a syndicate, and the ubiquitous chyron ticker-tapes on the bottom of your television set, it is outstanding that Miller has kept the focus on more substantial fare. Even better, then, that Miller takes the time to highlight A Conservative History of the American Left in the latest installment of NRO's Between the Covers (listen here).
Accuracy in Media's Don Irvine interviewed me today for AIM's podcast. Therein, we discuss A Conservative History of the American Left and the 2008 presidential election. Turn your computers up to eleven and listen here carefully.
The Internet has made tuning-in as easy as a mouse click. No longer must listeners be concerned with, to paraphrase Adam West, tuning in at "the same bat time, same bat channel," but can now catch radio programs when and where they choose. Listen to Pajamas Media's Ed Driscoll interview me on his XM Satellite Radio program here. Other interviews available via podcast on A Conservative History of the American Left include discussions with Michael Medved, Joseph "Tex" Dozier, and Howie Carr.
"A Conservative History of the American Left is perhaps most of all a story about the failure and resilience of utopian schemes," James Antle writes at EnterStageRight.com. "The new and radical ideas aren't new after all. Flynn has seen the future, and it is the past." Read the full review, and if you haven't already please read my book. And if you have read it, get somebody else to do so.
A Conservative History of the American Left is "worth taking seriously," writes historian Michael Kazin. "Unlike his fellow partisans, Flynn has spent some time in libraries and archives, and he strains to turn this erudition into a larger interpretation of the phenomenon he detests." The review in The Nation calls A Conservative History of the American Left "an intriquing failure," which when considering the source I'll take as a compliment. The negative review distorts and fails in neglecting to give the reader a feel for the book. In one breath Kazin borrows from Marx's insult lexicon in calling actual communists--you know, the people who lived on communes instead of the one who dreamed about them inside the British Museum--"utopian socialists." In another breath, he accuses me of not considering "retrospective enemies, be they alive or dead, on their own terms." Practice what you preach, dude. Political scientist Paul Gottfried and historian Tom DiLorenzo pen positive reviews. DiLorenzo focuses on the book's first section, which inspects those
utopian socialists antebellum communists. Gottfried notes on TakiMag, "The most critical insight that I extracted from Flynn's book is the recognition that radical social ideas travel well in American society, if they are made to look and smell American."
Larry Thornberry reviews A Conservative History of the American Left in the Washington Times, finding it "exhaustively-researched, thoroughly-detailed and clearly-written. Readers will gain an understanding of the core differences between the various leftist approaches to life and governance, which stand in stark contrast to those of the conservative side, which are based less on theory than on tradition and rely more on personal initiative than on government micro-management."
"Flynn has written this book in as fair a spirit as his enemies could ask," the American Spectator review of my book explains. If Dan McCarthy's piece on A Conservative History of the American Left doesn't motivate you to pick up a copy of the book, I don't know what will. "There are conservative journalists who write for a mass audience and conservative scholars who write for a narrow one," McCarthy writes. "But Flynn writes for both: his books combine original research--on the streets interviewing leftist protestors as well as in libraries combing through archives--with stylistic flair and common sense. A Conservative History of the American Left is his best book yet."
Mal Kline posts a nice review of A Conservative History of the American Left at AIM.org. "It's a testament to Flynn's talent that reading A Conservative History of the American Left is as enervating as it is entertaining," writes Kathy Shaidle in her review at Pajamas Media. Shaidle has a knack for clever names, as her blog, FiveFeetofFury, and her book, "Acoustic Ladyland," attest.
Author Bill Kauffman finds A Conservative History of the American Left "a well-written, pugnaciously argued, and consistently interesting account of the American Left." Former Reader's Digest editor Christopher Willcox labels my book "a formidable piece of work--a synthesizing popular history that deserves an audience wider than its polemical title suggests." Nevertheless, both critics, as critics are wont to do, find points to criticize in their generally positive reviews. The reviews, appearing in ISI's First Principles and the New York Sun respectively, interestingly criticize me on (nearly) the same point from opposite angles. Willcox, a former Bush II Pentagon spokesman who believes America's role in the Cold War to be praiseworthy, faults me for not highlighting "the significant role played by some liberal Democrats in exposing and opposing Soviet Communism." He strangely cites the American Federation of Labor--a group whose opposition to radicalism and Communism I repeatedly address (see pp. 187-89)--as an example butressing his point. Kauffman, contra Willcox, finds the Cold War an ignoble pursuit. "[Flynn] throws in with, or at least excuses, the obsessive red hunters," Kauffman writes. "Elevating anticommunism to a central principle of the American Right wrecked the Right by crushing its most decent and humane aspects: respect for home, for place, for decentralized liberty, for local tradition." As the author of the book reviewed, I don't mind criticisms reflecting the reviewer's ideological quirks as readers are generally smart enough to see them as just that. In other words, some criticisms say more about the critic than the criticized. Unfortunately, that idea may also apply to the complaining guy whose book is being criticized, too!
"This title does Daniel J. Flynn's fine new history a disservice," Ronald Radosh writes of A Conservative History of the American Left in the current issue of the Weekly Standard. "Some readers seeking a thorough and critical history of the left in America are likely to ignore it because of its claim to be a 'conservative history.' Flynn is certainly a conservative, as some of his candid and pithy judgments indicate, but what he gives readers is a well-rounded history of the left that should be read by anyone interested in the subject--and that includes those who call themselves left or liberal." This is an important review for my book both in terms of the influence of the journal in which it appears and the authority its author has on the subject matter. Ron Radosh is a red-diaper baby turned critic of the Left, who literally, then, knows the Left from the inside out. He has written on the Left as a memoirist in Commies: The Old Left, the New Left, and the Leftover Left and as an historian in The Rosenberg File, the best book on the case of Soviet spy Julius Rosenberg and his wife-accomplice Ethel. "A Conservative History of the American Left could not have come at a better moment," Radosh writes. Ditto for his positive review.
UPDATE: Read the full review here.
I'm honored that Young America's Foundation is holding an essay contest on A Conservative History of the American Left. If you are an undergraduate or a high school student, consider submitting an entry. There are $20,000 in cash and prizes available, including a $5,000 Grand Prize for the winning entry. Judges include new-media mogul Andrew Breitbart and talk-radio host Kirby Wilbur.
Here are the rules and here is the essay question:
"Can there be an American Left? Since Robert Owen made his July 4, 1826, Declaration of Mental Independence from the "trinity of the most monstrous evils"--private property, traditional religion, and marriage--the Left has crusaded against numerous American cultural markers. Freedom, faith, family, and flag seem essential to the American experience but are often under attack by the Left. Using examples from Daniel J. Flynn's A Conservative History of the American Left, craft a 1,200 word essay outlining ways that American leftists have at times sought to conform to the surrounding culture and at other times rebel against it, ultimately answering the question: Can there be an American Left, or must radicals--by virtue of an alien ideology--be forever consigned to operating outside of the American mainstream?"
Jamie Glazov interviews me on Frontpagemag. The discussion covers several of the major themes of A Conservative History of the American Left, including the transition from a Religious Left to an Irreligious Left, the tension between the Force Left and the Freedom Left, and the problem of a Left that denigrates family, faith, freedom, and flag appealing to the inhabitants of a nation that seems to stand for family, faith, freedom, and flag. Read the Frontpagemag interview here.
Chiggity-check me out on the amplitude modulation airwaves talking about my new book. I appear as a guest tonight at 9 p.m. (eastern) on NightSide with Dan Rea, which the 50,000-watt powerhouse WBZ (1030 on the a.m. band) can broadcast into 38 states on a clear night. On Sunday at 4:30 p.m. (eastern), a shorter segment on the book will occur on the John Batchelor Show, which appears on New York's WABC and Los Angeles's KFI. On Tuesday, May 6, I talk about A Conservative History of the American Left on the Howie Carr Show on Boston's WRKO at 4:30 p.m. (eastern). On Thursday, May 8, I make my return to the KSFO Morning Show at 7:05 a.m.(pacific).
A Conservative History of the American Left (buy it here) is published today by Crown Forum. I encourage my web readers to purchase the book and read it. If you like A Conservative History of the American Left, would you please tell someone about it? Word of mouth is the best viral marketing. If you have a blog, would you please link to the book and write about it? With media appearances and reviews forthcoming, and the mention of this site's name on the dust jacket, there are bound to be some newcomers to FlynnFiles. Please welcome them. I've been working on this book since 2003, so today is a day I have been looking forward to for some time.
I received six hardbacks of A Conservative History of the American Left in the mail yesterday three weeks in advance of the on-sale date. Even for the third time, it is still exhilarating to see for the first time the finished product of years of work. Getting a new book is a little like opening presents on Christmas: you get older but it never gets old. An interesting rubbery texture embossed over the middle two-thirds of the cover gives it a strange feel. The color sceme is similar to Intellectual Morons, but the yellows and reds are bolder and brighter here. The book runs 455 pages with notes, index, and other back matter. It's almost as thick as Why the Left Hates America and Intellectual Morons combined. Two rows of tiny red men waving tiny red flags separate the title from cover pictures of the likes of Emma Goldman, Alger Hiss, and Hillary Clinton, who replaced Nancy Pelosi on the cover for the simple reason that Hillary is a character in the book and Pelosi isn't. My dust jacket photo, which had been the same for my last two books, is of the same guy just a decade or so older. You're only 26 once, but if you use the same promotional picture people will get the idea that you've been 26 for several decades. I'm 34, and so is the guy in my picture. Inside, an introduction and a conclusion surround 24 chapters. The text runs 374 pages and the endnotes go for more than 60. The chapters are separated into five "books"--"Backwoods Millennialists," "Radicals and Reformers," "The Old Left," "The New Left," and "The 9/12 Left." Want to know more? Buy the book, I won't let you down.
The first review is in, and it's quite favorable. Fred Siegal of The City Journal writes that A Conservative History of the American Left is "highly readable," "engaging," "well written," and "a timely demonstration of some disturbing continuities in left-wing thought." Read The City Journal review here. If Mr. Siegal can pen a review of my book three weeks before it hits stores, surely you can camp out in front of your local Borders or Barnes & Noble in anticipation of A Conservative History of the American Left going on sale on April 29. Stop wasting your time. Get in line.
A Conservative History of the American Left has been chosen as April's "main selection" for the Conservative Book Club. This is an honor, and one that comes with massive exposure for the book. In mailboxes, in magazines, and online it's tough for conservatives to escape the Conservative Book Club. That's good news for my book. "Dan Flynn's much-anticipated forthcoming Conservative History of the American Left (which will be a Main Selection for us in April) demonstrates the high cost that the Left has always paid for disdaining the wisdom of the past," Elizabeth Kantor, showing that she grasps one of the book's main themes, writes in announcing CBC's April main selection. "The American Left has repeatedly crashed and burned because Leftists were constitutionally opposed to learning anything from the mistakes of earlier generations of Leftists."
At around 2 a.m. Tuesday morning, I finished writing A Conservative History of the American Left. This follows four years of work, which included reading almost 400 books, interviewing scores of activists and a dozen or so celebrity activists, researching archived material at Harvard, Wellesley, UMass, Syracuse, Catholic, UVA, Michigan, NYU, and the Library of Congress, and pouring through such forgotten journals as The Harbinger, Appeal to Reason, The New Masses, and Liberation. The books I read and own, which occupy a dozen or so shelves in my new attic library, include my first cover-to-cover reading of Big Black, otherwise known as the Bible. When you read the book, you will understand why it was so important for me to read The Book.
In addition to copious reading, there has been, unsurprisingly, writing and more writing. I wrote in Prague, in Krakow, in Salzburg; on trains and on planes; on my old condo's porch in Washington, DC; in my attic in the company of a bat; and, finally, on Monday evening, in a bar in College Park, Maryland along historic and ugly, and historically ugly, Route 1. My hand hurts worse than Bart Simpson's does after school. Before edits, I probably wrote 200,000 words or so. The final version is more book than Why the Left Hates America and Intellectual Morons combined.
The actual book will be shorter than that, but its scope necessarily makes it the longest of my three books. I hope readers will think it the best, too. What it has going for it, methinks, are the amazing characters that make up the history of the American Left and the American Left's penchant for forgetting the past, which makes so many of these characters fresh to readers--even if they lived more than a century ago. It's very much a biography-driven book, whose stories interweave and intersect. I'm fortunate to have such a gripping subject matter.
Writing has finished, but that doesn't mean the book will come out next week. Seven months from now is more like it. Copy edits, galley proofs, reviewer copies, printing, dust-jacket blurbs, indexing, and layout are among the tasks ahead. I get my name on the book as the author. But there's a good reason, as the aforementioned list indicates, that the publisher--in my case Crown Forum--gets its name on there too. It's been a sizable chunk of my life, but for the payoff--seeing, feeling, and even smelling (on old friend always smelled new books) an actual hardcover--I'll have to wait a little longer.
After four years of obsessing over the history of the American Left, including the last two years of doing so without a day job to distract my monomania for a few hours, and after one day to exhale, I am left with the question: What now?
I'm pleased to announce to the FlynnFiles readership the title and release date of my third book. A Conservative History of the American Left, a book that I have been working for a long, long time, will be released by Crown Forum on April 29, 2008. Crown Forum's site has a graphic of the book's cover on its site. I think the dust jacket looks classy. I'm excited about the inside, too. The history of the American Left is filled with some amazingly interesting figures, who, once trends pass them by, get tossed down the memory hole. Well, I descended into the memory hole ("On belay?" "Belay on.") to rescue these great stories, and lessons, for posterity. There will be more detailed information on A Conservative History of the American Left in the coming months. For now, check out the periodic chronicles of the seemingly endless saga of writing this book, which includes teasing the readership about the top-secret project in March 2004, quitting a regular 9-5 job two years ago (Financially, a move that in its brilliance is rivalled only by my purchase of Enron stock), dispensing with trivial matters such as personal hygiene and grooming, going Bohemian on a writing trip to Bohemia, and visiting research libraries and interviewing cool people.
I am my own boss, and lately my conduct has been ruinous to company spirit. I've been arriving to work in the p.m. hours. My office, which also doubles as my living room, is a mess littered with books, overstuffed file folders, and yellow legal pads. It's bad enough that I show up to work every day in sweat pants and a flannel shirt. Now I frequently show up to work in the same sweat pants and flannel shirt. On the positive side, I rarely leave the office and don't complain when I don't get paid. But I surf the web, smoke cigars, and listen to loud music on company time. I don't shave. Earlier this week, I strongly considered firing myself. I'm glad, for my sake, that I didn't. On Wednesday, I began to turn things around. I made serious progress on the third chapter of my forthcoming book. By Thursday, I reached that crest-of-the-hill point. That's where the upward snail's pace transforms into a downward glide. A paragraph a day yields to thousand-word days. It is the viral effect but with words. They replicate. Words beget words. What seemed daunting now seems a cinch. I'm glad I stuck by me. I may even look the other way when I drink on the job later tonight. But this is just chapter three, so, as the great philosopher Yogi Berra put it, it will feel like deja vu all over again. My boss will give me schoolmarmish lectures, castigating me to snap out of it. My job security will seem precarious. Then I'll get on a roll. And I'll repeat the process again and again until next November. With luck, I'll have a book.
Intellectual Morons: How Ideology Makes Smart People Fall for Stupid Ideas is now available in paperback. It hits stores nationwide today. William F. Buckley and Thomas Sowell are among those who praised Intellectual Morons, which received a mention in Time magazine, was reviewed here, here, here, and here, and has been picked up for publication in Turkey. Hopefully, all that will convince you to pick up a paperback copy--if not for yourself, then as a gift for a friend or foe.
Intellectual Morons comes out in paperback in one week. Twenty-five, shiny author copies appeared in my mail yesterday, and they look sharp. Three Rivers Press is the publisher. Proudly atop the cover is Thomas Sowell's 2004-end comment that Intellectual Morons was "one of this year's best books." If you haven't picked up Intellectual Morons yet, order Amazon to send the new paperback to your door. While you're at it, order a copy of Why the Left Hates America too.
Earlier this month I gave notice to my employer, the Leadership Institute, that I would be leaving at the end of July. Friday is my last day as director of the Institute's Campus Leadership Program. As I did in 2003, I will be taking the next year off to write, speak, and concentrate on other projects. The book that I've been working on officially for five months, and unofficially for over a year, will attract most of my attention. But the absence of a normal work schedule will likely mean good things for the blog too. I don't anticipate generating much more daily content than I already do (I am an author before I am a blogger), but I do intend to blog sporadically throughout the day rather than the heretofore customary posts after midnight and sometime the following morning. Before these improvements come to FlynnFiles, I will spend August traveling. My vacation brings me to London, Prague, Wroclaw, Krakow, and Boston. All of this does not necessarily mean that I will be taking a vacation from FlynnFiles, but it does mean that blogging may be light for a few weeks in August. Come September, FlynnFiles will be better than ever. In addition to quitting my job and scheduling the Europe trip, I recently came to an agreement with Crown Forum on the book that I have been researching. Look for it to hit store shelves in late 2007. Until the release of this book, enjoy the blog, read Intellectual Morons and Why the Left Hates America if you haven't, and maybe (but just maybe) I will have a more fun and less weighty book out in the meantime.
Congratulations to Greg LaVoy of Kalamazoo College for winning Young America's Foundation's "Exposing Intellectual Morons Essay Contest." Greg chose to write on Noam Chomsky of all the intellectual morons discussed in my book by the same name. You can read his winning essay here. Among other prizes, Greg pocketed $2,500 and a won a trip to the Reagan Ranch.
English is too constricting for the universal message of Intellectual Morons. A foreign book company has bought the rights to publish Intellectual Morons: How Ideology Makes Smart People Fall for Stupid Ideas in Turkish. Two years ago, a South Korean publisher similarly bought the Korean rights to Why the Left Hates America. It's a pretty cool to know my books will travel to places I've never been.
Earlier this week, I officially began research on a third book. I have a rule about books: I will only write a book that I would want to read. I have a second rule about books: I will only write a book that other people would want to read too. With this in mind, I hope to do with this third project what I believe I've done successfully with Why the Left Hates America and Intellectual Morons: write a topical book that appeals to a mass audience while still having lasting value. Since I'm still at the early stages, I hope you understand my preference for keeping the topic of the book top-secret. Who knows, after all, if my current conception of the next book will match the reality of the finished product? A lot will happen between now and some distant publication date. So until that date arrives, I encourage you to continue to get your fix on Flynn Files. And if you haven't read Why the Left Hates America or Intellectual Morons, what are you waiting for?
The Washington Times weighed in on Intellectual Morons this weekend, featuring a positive review in its books section. Reviewer Larry Thornberry calls the book a "quick intellectual history--more accurately a history of the anti-intellectual and the pseudo-intellectual--of the past century, and how many popular but untrue and toxic ideas undermine free society." He explains that Alfred Kinsey, Jacques Derrida, Peter Singer, and other professors get the "Flynn treatment"! Thornberry observes: "Flynn beats up on academe pretty hard--but was there ever a more deserving punching bag?"
Have you read Intellectual Morons? Are you a student under the age of twenty-five? If so, you have an opportunity to win several thousand dollars and a trip to the Reagan Ranch through Young America's Foundation's "Exposing Intellectual Morons Essay Contest." In 1,200 words or less, entrants are to answer the following: "Dan Flynn discusses more than a dozen intellectual morons in his book, including Noam Chomsky, Michel Foucault, Margaret Sanger, and Alfred Kinsey. Of all the figures discussed in Intellectual Morons, which one has had the most pernicious impact on our world and why?" The deadline for the contest, which will be judged by FrontPageMag publisher David Horowitz, Hillsdale College professor Burt Folsom, and Dr. Nigel Ashford of the Institute for Humane Studies, is February 15. If you're a college student, I strongly encourage you to enter the contest. After your free trip, and the fattening of your wallet, you may be thanking me that you did.
I awoke this morning to learn that I am the beneficiary of a huge honor. Thomas Sowell has named Intellectual Morons as among 2004's best books. In his year-end column on books, Sowell writes: "Intellectual Morons by Daniel J. Flynn was one of this year's best books. It shows how the intelligentsia have for years fallen for unbelievably stupid--and often tragic--notions on everything from the environment to Communist dictators." Thomas Sowell has consistently put forth some of the best books over the past several decades. He is one of America's leading intellects, so his endorsement is a bit overwhelming. Let me reciprocate Sowell's Christmas-gift suggestion of Intellectual Morons by commending The Vision of the Annointed to my readers as a book definitely worthy of slipping under the tree.
Tune-in tonight to CNN's Paula Zahn Now. The show airs from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. EDT. I'll be making a brief appearance in a news segment on the controversy surrounding the release of Kinsey, starring Liam Neeson. I sat for an interview earlier today, stating that Kinsey cooked the books on his data--payind a friend to pretend to be his statistician, stacking his male sample group with prison inmates, and uncritically accepting the word of child rapists that their victims enjoyed sex. Kinsey, of course, is discussed at length in Intellectual Morons.
While I'm on the subject of reviewers: have you read any of the reviews of Intellectual Morons on Amazon? Most of the reviews--favorable and unfavorable--show no signs that the reviewer actually read the book. Some posting on Amazon even concede this. One reviewer writes: "I have not read the book but I did watch Flynn's presentation of it at Colby, as broadcast this morning (Sunday, 31Oct2004) on C-SPAN 2, so I think I have a pretty good idea of what is in it." Another admits: "I sent this book back after reading the chapter on Leo Strauss." When did it become acceptable to review books that you haven't read?
Dr. Michael New reviews Intellectual Morons in Sunday's New York Post, offering a generally favorable take on the book. More negative is Paul Cella's review appearing on The American Spectator's website.
It's predictable, I guess, that these and other conservative reviewers, almost to a man, would complain about the book's criticism of Leo Strauss, an intellectual admired by many conservatives. What's interesting is that all of the conservative reviewers bothered by the inclusion of the Strauss chapter don't show any evidence in their reviews of having read anything by Strauss, particularly Persecution and the Art of Writing, the text my chapter on Strauss focuses on. In that book, Strauss imagines the history of philosophy as one giant conspiracy theory. Philosophers such as Plato, Machiavelli, and Locke offer surface messages to the masses, Strauss contends, but encode secret messages to other philosophers. Strauss "cracks" this code through projecting special meaning upon the first and last words used in books and book chapters, counting up the number of paragraphs contained in a chapter, or finding implied contradictions in a text.
This is, of course, just a dressed-up version of what would later be called deconstructionism. Why conservatives, who attack similar crackpot methods when employed by leftists, would applaud those on the Right who use such means, is not so mysterious. Strauss, they believe, serves conservative ends--just as many leftists believe Derrida serves leftist ends. Why criticize one of our guys? Well, that's the point of the book: ideology--Left or Right--blinds intellectuals to reality. No one seems to explicitly criticize this thesis. It's only when the thesis is applied to intellectuals with political outlooks similar to the reviewer that the reviewer objects.
Listen-in to the Michael Medved Show on Monday, as I'll be appearing on the nationally-syndicated program live between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. EDT. On Tuesday, listeners around Lexington, Kentucky can hear me on WLAP's Lee Cruise Show at 4:30 p.m. Tom Sullivan interviews me on KFBK and KSTE in northern California at 2 p.m. PDT on Thursday.
"Even in retirement, Howard Zinn continues to generate new fans--and new enemies," begins a piece in Thursday's San Francisco Chronicle. One "new" enemy, the next lines explains, is "Daniel Flynn, a conservative pundit, [who] published 'Intellectual Morons,' a 304-page book that rips Zinn for 'America bashing' and biased writing." The brief reference in one of America's most widely read newspapers is thankfully just a small portion of the ink devoted to Intellectual Morons (buy it here) recently.
National Review's Mike Potemra briefly reviews Intellectual Morons among the titles in this fall's book "harvest." The paragraph review is kind and grasps the main concept of the book. But, alas, it takes issue with the middle chapter. "His Strauss chapter is disappointing," Potemra writes, "echoing as it does the hackneyed far-Left and paleoconservative arguments against the Iraq war; the rest of the book is worth reading." What "hackneyed" arguments? Saddam didn't have stockpiles of WMD? The Niger uranium documents were a hoax? Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11? I confess: I prefer "hackneyed" arguments to false ones.
"The book is exceptionally well researched and documented, with 985 footnotes for 246 pages of text," Tom DiLorenzo writes in a lengthy and favorable review of Intellectual Morons on LewRockwell.com Thursday. "All in all, it’s hard to determine who are the bigger morons: the 'intellectuals' whose warped ideas Daniel Flynn so clearly and extensively documents," wonders the Loyola College professor, "or those who have embraced them as the unquestionable truth about the modern world."
In The American Conservative, Edward Feser's review is mixed. Ironically titled "Smart Asses," Feser's piece blasts the "sophomoric title" of my book. The joke's on you, dude. But in a literal sense, maybe Feser is on to something without knowing it. Intellectual Morons is a sophomoric title (Sophomore's pure translation? wise fool). Anyhow, it turns out Feser has his own book on Robert Nozick with the dynamic title--get this--On Nozick. It's currently ranked #1,443,293 on Amazon. Seeing this erased any regrets I had in not titling my book, On Marcuse, Kinsey, Ehrlich, Singer, Menchu, Chomsky, Zinn, Vidal, Strauss, Sanger, Du Bois, Hiss, Rand, Friedan, Derrida, de Man, and Foucault.
Jamie Glazov of FrontPageMag.com recently conducted an interview with me on Intellectual Morons. In the interview, I discuss why I wrote Intellectual Morons, in addition to talking about Dan Rather, Michael Moore, Margaret Sanger, and Noam Chomsky. It appears today.
Accuracy in Academia's Mal Kline reviews Intellectual Morons on the CampusWatch website, while AIA's parent group, Accuracy in Media posts its own review on their site. Later this month, on October 21 to be exact, I'll be speaking on my new book at Accuracy in Media's monthly luncheon in Washington, DC. Contact AIM for information on the event, or to reserve a seat.
The campaign over the airwaves moves forward. Besides writing, I like talk radio better than any other medium. I've appeared on a couple dozen shows since the book's release. Earlier this week, one host--Alan Nathan on Radio America--began shouting incoherently at me because I disagreed with him on Iraq. On Thursday, I was interviewed by Joy Cardin on Wisconsin Public Radio. Although it was pretty apparent that Cardin was no sympathizer with conservative ideas, she let me answer questions. It was a real discussion rather than a verbal foodfight. One caller--a university professor in the UW system--objected to my critique of academia as an intellectual ghetto. To rebut my point, he noted that the professors in his department had a diversity of views on the 2004 election--they were split on Nader and Kerry! This is what he said. I am not joking.
Next week, I may be appearing on a transistor radio near you. On Monday, October 4, I'll be interviewed by Greg Garrison--he prosecuted Mike Tyson--in Indianapolis at Noon EDT on WIBC. In Philadelphia, I'll be appearing on The Michael Smerconish Show (WPHT) on Tuesday, October 5 at 8:30 a.m. EDT. A few hours later, at 11:15 a.m. EDT to be exact, I'll discuss Intellectual Morons on The Laura Ingraham Show, which goes out nationally. Thursday, I'll discuss the book on KSMR's The Other Side with Chevis and Joe out of Dallas at 8:30 p.m. CDT. Tune in and call in. If you hear me on the airwaves on these or other programs (other radio updates coming soon), let me know what you think in the comments section.
Human Events has a review of Intellectual Morons by Tim Carney. "Any parent worried about liberal indoctrination on the eve of sending his son or daughter off to college ought to require his kid to read Intellectual Morons," Carney writes. Elsewhere in the largely favorable review, he challenges my taking on Leo Strauss, one of the only figures associated with the Right examined in the book. Carney labels Strauss "too big a fish for this book." He's not, but I suppose I'll be hearing this same criticism from folks on the Left about Noam Chomsky and Michel Foucault. Yesterday, the Washington Times published "Smart People, Stupid Ideas," an interview of me on issues relating to Intellectual Morons. It's not available online, unfortunately. It covers a lot of ground--Margaret Sanger, Alfred Kinsey, Rigoberta Menchu, and other intellectual morons. Following the pre-publication plug from Time magazine, the Human Events review and the Washington Times interview represent the only print attention this book has, to my knowledge, received. So why is it currently #12 on Amazon.com's non-fiction top-sellers list? Talk radio, the blogosphere, and Internet news and opinion sites have generated a terrific buzz about Intellectual Morons, and clearly, have the power to sell serious books dealing with ideas.
I'm interviewed today by Chris Banescu of OrthodoxyNet.com. The interview appears on TownHall.com. Issues addressed include campus censorship, Communism, Rathergate, and other topics relating to Intellectual Morons.
If you are a student I want to alert you to an opportunity to win several thousand dollars in prize money just for reading Intellectual Morons. If you know a college or high school student, please alert them to this opportunity. Young America's Foundation announced "Exposing Intellectual Morons Essay Contest" this week. It's open to college and high school students under the age of 25. First prize includes $2,500 and a free trip to the Reagan Ranch. Other monetary prizes are available as well. All you have to do is read my book and write an essay between 1,000 and 1,200 words answering the following question: "Dan Flynn discusses more than a dozen intellectual morons in his book, including Noam Chomsky, Michel Foucault, Margaret Sanger, and Alfred Kinsey. Of all the figures discussed in Intellectual Morons, which one has had the most pernicious impact on our world and why?"
I'm overwhelmed by the response Intellectual Morons is getting in the alternative media--talk radio, the blogosphere, and the Internet. Blogads appearing here, here, here, and elsewhere, articles like John LeBoultillier's enthusiastic review on NewsMax, debates among bloggers about the book (like this one between John Cole and Oliver Willis), and appearances on KABC's Al Rantel Show, KSFO's Morning Show, and other radio programs have all propelled sales of the book. Despite the fact that my face hasn't graced a single television screen to promote the book, and to my knowledge not a single print review has appeared yet, Intellectual Morons has consistently been on Amazon.com's non-fiction top-sellers list for the past couple of days. All hail alternative media!
Dr. Mike Adams really got my book. His column on Intellectual Morons focuses on my chapter discussing Planned Parenthood Founder Margaret Sanger and the movement she should have aborted. It is a must read.
My research on Sanger breaks some new ground. While inspecting her papers in the Library of Congress, I stumbled upon her very detailed plan promoting concentration camps that would have housed more than ten million Americans. None of the ten or so biographies of Sanger that I examined even mention this. Yet, they had access to the same material that I had access to. If the most significant pro-life activist promoted concentration camps, do you suppose these same biographers would have sat on the information? Mike Adams discusses these and other aspects of Sanger's life that have been airbrushed from the official histories. If you want to get a sense of the important information contained in Intellectual Morons, read Dr. Adams' column. Then read my book.
Intellectual Morons: How Ideology Makes Smart People Fall for Stupid Ideas is finally available in bookstores. Get your copy today. TownHall.com has an early review, and blog ads featuring Intellectual Morons can be found here, here, here, and a dozen other places on the web.
“This is a sophisticated pile driver of a book, guiding us through the wiles of great luminaries of the netherworld. And such liveliness in the writing, and such erudition. I was quite fascinated by Intellectual Morons.”
—William F. Buckley, Jr.
“Intellectual Morons is exceptionally aptly named. The thought of all that brainpower going down the intellectual drain is sad, but Daniel Flynn’s description of it is hilariously on point. This is must reading.”
—G. Gordon Liddy
“Intellectual Morons is a delight—a wonderful intellectual history of the past hundred years. Flynn ably describes the purveyors of the bad ideas that have undermined our free society.”
—Burton Folsom, Jr.
“A famous bit of folk wisdom says, ‘You’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.’ Some of the crackpot notions now fashionable in academic circles, as here documented by Dan Flynn, suggest that saying is an understatement. If you want to know how crazy, and scary, intellectual morons can get, you have to read this book.”
—M. Stanton Evans
Intellectual Morons isn't the only book that comes out on Tuesday. Why the Left Hates America (buy it here), my first book, comes out in paperback tomorrow with a new afterword. Several print runs of the hardback edition sold out, and the book was the beneficiary of numerous positive reviews and articles. To look back on some of the press that Why the Left Hates America received when it was released in October of 2002, read here, here, here, here, and here.
First, Time, America's largest news magazine, gives Intellectual Morons a pre-publication plug. Now, the king of all bloggers, Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit, recommends my book to Dan Rather, whose actions this week make at least half of my book title applicable to him. The book isn't even out and Time and Instapundit, the big dogs of their respective mediums, have already plugged it. When it rains it pours, I guess, because an even larger development regarding Intellectual Morons has transpired. Check in later this week and I'll have a full report on something that should have an enormous impact on book sales. I've spent several years of my life writing this book. It's inspiring to know that tens of thousands of people will spend several hours of their lives reading it.
If you haven't noticed, there have been some ever-so-slight changes made to the book jackets that appear to the right of the page. In the case of Intellectual Morons, Crown Forum decided to flip the title and subtitle. So now, "Intellectual Morons" appears on top, while the subtitle appears below. With regard to Why the Left Hates America, the graphic that now appears is the cover for the paperback edition that Three Rivers Press will be releasing in early September. Shortly thereafter on September 21, Crown Forum will release Intellectual Morons.
I received the bound uncorrected review copies of Intellectual Morons today. The book comes out on September 21, which may seem like a lot of time to properly pre-promote a book but it's not. I've got my work cut out for me. Shortly before Intellectual Morons hits store shelves, Three Rivers Press will be releasing the paperback version of Why the Left Hates America. It has a new afterword, and since the Left provides daily evidence of their hatred for this country the book should generate some interest two years after the release of the hardback edition.
In other book related news, I gave a number of speeches this past week in the DC-area--three of which focused on Intellectual Morons. Today, for instance, I spoke at an Accuracy in Academia mini-conference on Capitol Hill with fellow authors Ben Shapiro and Mike Adams. In trying out some talks on Intellectual Morons, two reactions stand out. First, the title grabs attention. It always gets a strong response. Second, elements of the conservative audiences I've been speaking to love the idea of me dissecting Noam Chomsky, Alfred Kinsey, Margaret Sanger, etc., but are a bit squeamish when I apply the book's thesis regarding ideology acting as a mental straitjacket to intellectual figures on the Right.
Intellectual Morons: How Ideology Makes Smart People Fall for Stupid Ideas is on schedule to hit bookstores on September 21. My final tweaks were turned in on Monday. Crown Forum, a division of Random House, is the publisher. Already, a healthy buzz about the book is growing. I'm excited. A number of positive developments regarding Intellectual Morons have occured. Let me report on two. First, William F. Buckley, M. Stanton Evans, Burt Folsom, and G. Gordon Liddy have endorsed the book. I admire each of these thinkers and am proud--and a bit overwhelmed--that they've lent their support to my work. Second, American Compass, a division of the Book of the Month Club that specializes in conservative titles, will feature Intellectual Morons as an alternate selection in one of its Fall mailings.
One lamentable consequence of the rise of the Internet is the decline of used book stores. I first noticed this trend while in San Diego for Marine training several years ago. While exploring the shops depicted on a flyer promoting used book stores within the city, all I came across were going-out-of-business signs and empty storefronts. In the short time between the printing of the flyer and my reading the flyer, numerous stores had shut down operations. Even in highly literate locales, such as Harvard Square and Washington, DC, it's becoming increasingly difficult to find a used book store.
On the Internet you're almost guaranteed to find what you are looking for. In a used book store, you're almost guaranteed to find what you are not looking for.
I had some success finding what I wasn't looking for tonight at McIntyre and Moore Booksellers in Davis Square in Somerville, Massachusetts. This is why I prefer shopping over the counter to shopping over the world wide web. Among the tomes I stumbled upon were a UK first-edition of James Burnham's The Managerial Revolution, a sturdy hardback of Thomas Sowell's Marxism, and an obscure book from the 1960s called A Passport to Utopia: Great Panaceas in American History. In fact, my wife and I bought a foot-long stack of books to qualify for a 10% discount--an imaginative deal you'd never find at Barnes and Noble, Borders, Amazon, or any other book-selling behemoth.
Like Second Story Books in the DC-area, McIntyre and Moore is among the last of a dying breed. Inspired by this troubling phenomena, I've created the Endangered Business List. I mean no disrespect to those on the Endangered Species List. But with all apologies to the Black-Browed Albatross and the Boreal Felt Lichen, used book stores have played a more meaningful role in my life than snakes, bugs, and weeds. Rather than a government protection scheme, the Endangered Business List will merely be an instrument to encourage my readers to frequent second-hand book shops. When we save used book stores, we will move on to protecting other endangered but worthy businesses: ice-cream men, drive-in movie theaters, pizza parlors run by real Italians, etc.
OK, who's with me?
My forthcoming book is about how people become blinded to reality by the causes that they serve. So naturally there is a chapter on environmentalist Paul Ehrlich. The Stanford professor has made a career out of imitating Chicken Little, with predictions of doomsday revised again and again after the selected date fails to bring humanity's demise. You'd think Mr. Ehrlich's penchant for being wrong would marginalize him. It hasn't, and he's back with a new book, One With Nineveh, that Ronald Bailey skewers.
For fans of Why the Left Hates America, I have some good news. Three Rivers Press will be releasing a paperback version of the book in September. The edition will feature a new afterword focusing on events that occured after the release of the book, the lively reaction to the book, and the direction America is headed.
As you might have guessed from looking at the right side of the page, my follow-up to Why the Left Hates America comes out this year. The book is called Intellectual Morons: How Ideology Makes Smart People Fall For Stupid Ideas. I began writing it in 1998, and I think the years of hard work really paid off. The book is about how ideology deludes, breeds fanaticism, and rationalizes dishonesty. It's longer than WTLHA, but short enough to still be viable commercially. The release date is September 21, less than five months away. I'm excited.