I have always, in my adult life, aspired to write books. This is my first.
The amount of time, thought and work that goes into writing a book like this can feel unequal to the finished product. It is not a revelation of blinding insight. It is not the solution to any major problem. It is not an explosive disclosure of something previously secret.
It is a story. It’s a great story, hopefully well told, about significant historical figures. But it is not much more than that.
And yet, it is solid. It is something that will last, and endure, far more than most news articles or magazine pieces. This was always part of the appeal of writing books to me. Even as a college student at the end of the 90’s, before the Internet had really broken into the mainstream, I repelled at the snap judgments of the day to day news cycle. Even then, I recoiled at the easy anger peddled by talk radio.
But increasingly, in the modern age as we now know it, writing a book is an act of resistance. It says to the demand for instant information and immediate judgment: “No.” It is a defiant, angry rebuke of the rush to judgment and the race to outrage (or some set of obvious emotions) that our phones, social media, news alerts, and cable news push us towards.
Will my one book change the world? Oh my, no. But each of us can only live our one life. And I choose to make mine a brick in the wall of a thoughtful, reasoned, deliberately lived life. It doesn’t take writing a book to do this. For example, simply reading one will do.