Politics & Policy

Author Confessional: John Derbyshire

Spring authors tell tales out of the publisher's office.

Drawn Out

National Review Online’s John Derbyshire confesses: “I have always fancied myself a pretty nifty draftsman. Just as I was embarking on my latest book, which has a lot of geometric figures and diagrams, I happened to read Roger Penrose’s The Road to Reality, which has diagrams that are obviously hand drawn. Inspired by this example, I decided to hand-draw all the illustrations for my own book. (As opposed to using my computer math packages to draw them for me, as I had with my previous book.) I bought a light box and a set of different-caliber pens and patiently drew all the diagrams.

“The manuscript finished, I shipped it off to the publisher for editing. Of course, they came back with: “The diagrams are too rough. Could you please do computer-generated ones, like before?” Grrrrr. The diagrams in the finished book are computer-generated. (Mostly.)”

John Derbyshire’s new book, Unknown Quantity: A Real And Imaginary History of Algebra, will be released on May 15.

NR Staff — Members of the National Review editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

Most Popular


‘Why Would Jussie Smollett Do This?’ They Cried

Brian Stelter, chief media correspondent for CNN, was baffled. “You know, we saw a lot of politicians and Hollywood celebrities and activists rally around Jussie Smollett's side as soon as he made these accusations several weeks ago,” he said on Saturday night after his own network, among others, had begun ... Read More
Film & TV

A Sublime Christian Masterpiece of a Film

‘There are two ways through life -- the way of nature and the way of grace,” remarks the saintly mother at the outset of The Tree of Life, one of the most awe-inspiring films of the 21st century. She continues: Grace doesn’t try please itself. It accepts being slighted, forgotten, disliked, accepts insults ... Read More