From a reader:
Wonderful book, and I mean that. However, there is one aspect of it
that I would like to see improved. Although you were clearly trying
to reach out to those that were not already in the choir, you
overlooked something I believe was very important. In your 400 plus
pages of describing the history, beliefs, and actions of the Left;
you never really sketched out the American Right. It is as though you
assumed your readers would be largely familiar with it already.
Unfortunately, I would submit that the American Right has been
subject to just as much distortion as the Left.
I am not proposing that you do another book tracing out the history,
beliefs, and actions of the American Right, there are some good ones
already. No, just a small chapter to illustrate what the Left
actually opposes. You repeatedly touched upon the fact that The Right
in America was different than The Right in Europe, but please give
more than just a few details. You will not need to research this
deeply, just toss together a wide selection of well known quotes from
Burke, The Founding Fathers, and subsequent American Conservatives to
illustrate the common threads in their philosophy and principles. I
think a general reader would be well served to see that there are a
whole host of thoughts that could come out of the mouth of just about
anyone in this tradition that would be entirely unthinkable from
anyone in that menagerie on the Left; and visa versa of course.
Regardless of whether you think this suggestion has merit, that was
still a really good book Jonah.
Me: First, thanks. Second, I hear ya. But I set out to write a book about the history of the left and its relationship to fascism. Perhaps you’re right that I could have done more to flesh out the American Right. But there are lots and lots of books on the American Right — written by conservatives and by liberals — and that’s not what I set out to do.