From a reader:
Your Amazon rank has dipped to 23, as noted by Hog on Ice? I am saddened. Here’s hoping justice and good sense prevail, and you get that Pulitzer. And that you make a ton of money from sales of the book.
I finished LF today. It is a tour de force. You and your research associates have covered a great swath of intellectual history and thought. Your writing is very good. I think you were absolutely correct to reign in the snark and joking for such a serious work. That sort of thing would have got in the way of the argument.
I guess I’m one of those whose reaction was “I always thought that was true” when I saw the title. The New Left, in particular, always struck me as giving off the whiff of the Brownshirt. So does the anti-Globalization movement, who are their heirs. And liberal economic ideas have struck me as fascistic in nature, with the State agreeing to leave people nominal ownership of their property so long as they agreed to use that property as the State specified, instead of outright nationalization. Howard Dean bike paths, anyone? The smiley face on the cover may have been just a litle too in your face, but it is funny as Hell.
So good job. The only mistake I found was on page 41, where you said Napoleon crowned himself Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Not so, he crowned himself Emperor of the French. A couple of years later he destroyed the HRE after his victory over Austria and Russia at Austerlitz. The Habsburg emperor was forced to renounce the title, dissolve the HRE and assume the title of Empreor of Austria instead as part of the peace treaty. Sic transit gloria mundi.
I think LF is a book that will repay rereading. I suspect many liberals are not comprehending it because the subtlty of your argument eludes them.
Me: Yes, I know about the Napoleon thing. Argh. It’s on my list of corrections for the paperback etc. As for sales, I wouldn’t close the book on the, uh, book quite yet. A lot of media has dried-up because of the primaries, but we have some big things on tap for after Super Tuesday. Also, the book has simply been out for a while and so the Amazon list — which measures momentum on an hourly basis at (least for the top titles) means less and less for a book that’s been out for a while. I didn’t expect to stay the number 1 book forever. That said if you actually go through the list , where I am 21 (at least of this writing) I’m still the # 1 new political nonfiction hardcover book Amazon (and I’m #3 in today’s NYT). That Three Cups of Tea thing is a paperback. The new Ron Paul book isn’t out for months. And much of the rest are diet, self-help or fiction. Still, fans of the book can help keep the book alive by simply talking it up. Eventually, word-of-mouth is what sustains a bestseller. And being a bestseller helps foster continued word-of-mouth (that’s what happened with Richard Bernstein’s piece on the book).
All that said, and while I would very much like to keep this thing alive as long as I can (especially given the hurdle of the book shortage), I think the book’s been more successful than I could have hoped and I’m grateful to everyone who helped make that possible.