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.”

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