tv Profile of All Points Books CSPAN July 28, 2018 11:30am-1:01pm EDT
[laughter] >> booktv wants to know what you're reading. send us your summer reading list @booktv on twitter, instagram or facebook. booktv on c-span2, television for serious readers. >> booktv visited the offices of all points books located in the flat iron building in new york city to talk with the editorial director, adam bellow are, about publishing authors from both the political left and right. >> host: so, adam bellow, let's get the elephant out of the room. you have a very famous last name. who was your father? >> guest: gee, i wasn't prepared for that question. [laughter] it never comes up. my father was the novellest saul bellow -- novelist saul bellow, a person who influenced me in
innumerable ways. initially by forming a certain kind of literary sensibility and a literary way of looking at the world which is not the same as a political way of look at the world. but also because he, in his role as a writer, he felt that it was incumbent upon him to engage in a high-level conversation with other writers of his stature and with public figures throughout the western world about the future of western culture and its fundamental values. because as an artist in a democratic society, he was -- like other artists -- very concerned, fundamentally concerned with the conditions of
freedom which made it possible for him to be a writer. -also, although it's not very well known p an editor as well as a writer, and he published a couple of magazines, small magazines in his career, "the noble savage" which he published in the '60s which i'm very proud of actually. and then a small publication called "the republic of letters" which he published when he was a professor at boston university. so in a way, i'm -- although i didn't become a writer myself, i tried but i quickly gave it up, i do feel that i was, because i was raised in an environment of very serious literary concerns and cultural and civilizational concerns that i am, in my own way, carrying on his legacy and upholding the values that he thought were important. >> host: well, pulitzer prize winner, national book award
winner, how did that influence your choice of career? >> guest: well, first, it influenced me in many ways. it took me most of my life to figure out how. initially, i had the idea for some crazy reason that i should try to be a writer myself. i don't know why. and it took me a few years to discover that i didn't have the kind of chops that would be, you know, really required to stand up to the scrutiny that comes from being the offspring of a famous writer. i spent some years in and out of various graduate programs, working in newspapers and magazines trying to find my way into a career that had something to do with words, with ideas.
and i had the good fortune after getting married and having a baby right away in the pearl harbor method, i decided i was, you know, 30 years old, and i needed a regular job. so i went to see irving crystal who was a family friend, someone who we we had known for a long time. and irving and i had a kind of frank, you know, jewish conversation, what do you want to do -- a lot of yiddish involved -- what do you want to be when you grow up, you know, who do you want to be. and i said that i had, i thought i might be suited to work in publishing. i had spent a lot of years in bookstores. one of my father's favorite occupations and pastimes was to browse in secondhand bookstores, and we used to spend many happy hours together in powell's bookstore in hyde park and at the strand bookstore here in new
york. i worked at the strand for the better part of a year after college. and irving had been, i knew that irving had been -- in addition to being a magazine editor, journalist and book author -- had also been a book editor. so i went to get his advice. he sent me to see his friend who was the publisher of the free press. i didn't really know very much of anything really about publishing. and i didn't know very much about irwin because book publishers tend to be background figures. so you don't really know when you buy a book off the shelf who the editor and publisher is. it's not what people, what motivates people to buy a book. but it turn thed out that irwin had been a very significant force in american intellectual publishing. it was irwin who signed up, among other things, the closing of the american mind by alan bloom. and alan had been also a family friend and a teacher of mine. i spent a year at the university
of chicago in the committee on social thought. and so when you asked me, you know, who are my influences, all of these men were influential to me. my father primarily, you know, many so many ways it's hard to quantify, but more importantly my father was a member of a generation of writers and intellectuals who were conducting a high-level conversation about the fate of western culture and its values. and other writers of his caliber were involved in it, gunter gras, people of that, you know, people of that level who felt it was part of their role as serious writers to uphold the values that preserve the conditions of freedom.
and, of course, it was the cold war, and that's what the kind of level of discourse was. ill say the same about al -- i would say the same about alan bloom, my teacher who was, as i would describe him, a kind of jewish socratic, somebody who taught me to look at, to kind of be a disrespecter of pieties and to look at all questions from more than one side. that's served me well as a book editor. irving, of course, was called the godfather of the neoconservative movement. i didn't realize it at the time, but when he sent me to see irwin, he was sort of indirectly recruiting me into the vast right-wing conspiracy. i didn't know that such a thing existed, but it turned out as i made the rounds as an editor in my early years -- and this is, you know, the late '80s -- visiting think tanks and magazines and newspaper,
journalists and newspaper editors and so forth, i realized slowly that someone had had to create all these institutions, this institutional support structure for conservative intellectuals. there really wasn't anything like that. most of these people and the people that we published at the free press were people with ph.d.s, serious scholars, you know, charles murray types, francis fukuyama, that sort of person, james q. wilson who, one of whose books i published in those days. these were, you know, serious intellectuals who, some of whom, many of whom did not have tenured positions in university departments. and so something had to be done to support them and sustain their work. and so there grew up this group of institutions and publications, and this is where i found authors. this is the place where i went to find, you know, the people to write books. a little later on a network of
campus newspapers was created. irving had something to do with that, bill buckley also had something to do with it. again, it had to be the created. somebody had to, you know, raise the money and create these institutional feeder system, and a number of the younger people whom i published over the years were products of that network. and irwin, who is -- who died in 1995, i believe, really deserves to be remembered more than he is. he was a very significant figure in new york publishing in that time, really the only person who would publish conservative voices. and at that time you have to recall there really wasn't any room for conservative ideas and voices. dominant intellectual and journalistic paradigm was liberal, and it had been dominant for a long time, long enough that there was no feeling
that anyone from the other side had to be entertained. and so we were a kind of, you know, band of brothers, you know, in a way. there was a lot of esprit de corps in the conservative intellectual movement at that time. there was a feeling that what we were doing was important. i felt, as somebody who grew up in new york and was working, lived in a liberal environment and worked in a liberal community, that it was important for me -- the part of my function really was to bring news of external reality to what even thennic identify as a bubble, a liberal ideological cub. >> host: well speaking of that bubble, did you consider yourself to be a conservative before you started this journey into conservative salons and think tanks? >> guest: well, the answer is not really.
and it's a hard question to answer. part of what happens in publishing is that when you start out, you're open to everything. finish and when i was a young editor at the free press, i was really academic editor. the free press was one of a small group of serious intellectual publishing companies. we called them academic crossover houses. free press, basic books, pantheon, norton to some extent, hybrid academic and trade publishing companies. and so in my early career, i was tasked with finding books from a wide range of academic disciplines, in the humanities, and i would go to academic conferences and talk to professors. and i'd be competing with, you know, academic publishers, harvard, oxford, norton.
never dealt with an agent in the first five or eight years of my career really. but what happens is that you, you know, when you have a success with something, that kind of becomes what you're identified with. and then you get more of the same. people identify you with that, and they send you more, and you publish those books, and it becomes your thing. and so my, you know, my own ideological predisposition is somewhat fluid, i would say. as a book editor, you know, it's different being a magazine editor. if i were bill kristol and i was editing a conservative magazine, i would have to have a really well thought out position on every public policy issue facing the country. i'm not a magazine editor. i'm a book editor, which means i'm an ecumenical person, and i have to be prepared to publish people on all sides of every
question. and it's just as well for me to maintain a posture of open mindedness, willingness to be persuaded and really just a commitment, if you will, to serious argument from whatever quarter it comes. however, yes, i'm a conservative in many, in significant ways, and i accept it as a description, as a label. the thing is that what it means to be a conservative is constantly changing. one of the things that i've learned in my 30 years as a book editor, that, you know, first of all, there's a great deal of variety within the conservative world. most people who are not this in that world don't recognize that. but, you know, there are many different ways to be conservative and, you know, in a philosophical sense all americans are liberal because
we, because our country was founded as part of the liberal movement of the 18th century. the liberal revolutions of the 19th century also influenced, were influenced by american revolution and the american constitution. and since the founding of this country, the progress of liberal values, equality, justice, fairness, diversity, representation have, you know, have marched forward. conservatives aren't necessarily resisting that. philosophically they're more resisting the pace of change, i find, and adhering to certain principles that need to be defended. and that, but the form of that defense changes every decade, you know, the issues that come up could be foreign policy, could be education, could be the humanities, could be immigration
taxation powell. the issues change -- policy. the issues change. the fundamental principles do not. >> host: well, adam bellow, over the years as an editor you've worked with a lot of conservatives. did you agree with what charles murray or laura ingraham or david brock back in the day the had to say? >> guest: for the most part, i publish books by people who i agree with or who i feel are making important arguments. that doesn't mean that i necessarily agree with or endorse every, everything they say. as i said before, you know, as a book editor, you know, a book is a large thing averaging 300 pages. my job is not to be an ideological disciplinarian or to hold people to any kind of ideological standard. i'm interested in -- what interested me about
conservativism when i came into the movement was that at that time it was, in my view, more open, more intellectually engaged. the conservatives i knew were better educated than most of the liberals that i knew. liberalism, i felt, had -- although i consider myself a liberal in certain decisive respects, liberalism i felt had lost the capacity to defend itself and to give an account of its own founding principles. the book that really illustrated that was "the closing of the american mind" published by -- written by my teacher, alan bloom, and published by my men or to have, irwin -- mentor, irwin glickas. i was powerfully influenced by the controversy around that book, and i wanted to produce that same kind of effect, you know? and what -- but to characterize the debate about the closing of
the american mind, it was really an argument about the philosophical foundations of liberalism. and the response to it, it was a very profound challenge published by somebody who really had thought through his own position in a very profound way. the response to it, i thought, was, you know, motion -- emotional, overheated, hysterical. and i remember having a conversation with alan about the book before it was published. i had read it in manuscript, and i was very familiar with his arguments, you know? i'd been in his classes for a year in chicago, and i asked him, well, alan, what do you think will happen when book is published? nobody thought anything would happen. i didn't think anything would happen. it was a minor, you know, book by a midwestern, obscure midwestern academic. he said, oh, it'll be just like the trial of socrates. i'll be accused of disrespecting the gods and corrupting the youth. and damn if he wasn't right. that's exactly what happened. and so this drama unfolded, the
entire academic, journalistic intellectual class rose up to denounce him as a heretic and a corrupter. and i saw, you know, he was right. and the reason for all the hysteria was that nobody was really able to make a cogent argument against him. so they just wanted to shout him down, rule him out, push him out of the boundary of society. and this is how the parameters of debate are policed by the dominant cultural authority the. so we're going to get into this question, i assume, of, you know, what is the culture war and how does it, you know, what are the stakes and how does it operate. but this was any initiation in culture war publishing, and it was the thing that i wanted to do with my life. >> host: when you talk about alan bloom's book, is it comparable what happened to him what's happening today on american campuses? >> guest: well, it's an extension of same phenomenon.
although i would say that the, you know, the heft has become -- the left has become more aggressive. you know, the millennial left are, the student left. but at the same time, a rift is opening up between the left and the liberals. so -- around the question of free speech. so let me put it this way, you know, the culture war as i understood it and have practiced it is a struggle between the left and the right for the mind of the liberal center, the majority of the people are not ideological. americans are not an ideological people. but they are open to persuasion. so we're trying to influence them through the publishing of books. now, when i published years ago many in the '90s, early '90s dinesh d'souza's illiberal education -- my first best seller, and i've since published
five or six of dinesh's books and i have one coming out this summer -- the reaction to that book was similar to the reaction to alan bloom in the sense that he was attacked and denounced. and, you know, he was really reporting on, you know, the multicultural impulse in the humanities and the, what was called the canon wars, you know, the attempt to redefine the curriculum to be more inclusive, which is a good thing, but not at the expense of the touchstones of our western cultural tradition and heritage. and this was really the issue at stake. what i thought was interesting about the reaction to the book is that it brought out of the woodwork, if you will, a certain number of traditional liberal academics who felt as he did or who were, or who felt that he
was expressing something that they felt they were unable to express which is, wait a minute, hey, wait a minute, you know? yeah, i agree that there should be more -- you know, i'm fine with there being a women's studies can department and various majors, but we still need to educate americans in the, in her taj out of which -- heritage out of which our constitution and founding documents emerged. this is important. you know, america is a country founded on ideas, therefore, ideas are important. and in every generation, they have to be defended anew. what i observed in the case of the closing of the liberal education was that it succeeded, i think so well, because a lot of liberal academics felt that, had felt uncomfortable, let's say, with the radicalism of the
campus left and its campaign to jettison the great works of western history, western culture and its heritage. now, you can argue that, you know, that's what they knew and that's what they were teaching, that's what they were familiar with, and there's validity in that argument. finish and i'm trying to give evidence in this conversation that i'm open to the other side, you know? i'm not rigid or ideological in that respect, you know? i get the point. right? i take the point. what's happening today is, you know, kind of a return to those arguments from the '80s and '9 0s, and i see the same thing. i see the same thing happening to some extent which is that traditional liberals are starting to realize that the left is not, does not respect free speech as a principle. it's not their fundamental principle. freedom of speech is a fundamental liberal principle. without that commitment, there
is no liberalism, and there's no liberal society. as this rift begins to widen, there will be publishing opportunities which i hope to exploit. and you started a new imprint. what is it? >> guest: so my career 30 years from the beginning, you know, as i said, i concentrated more and more on publishing conservatives, and i had a lot of fun. i've raised a lot of hell, you know, i caused a lot of trouble, started a lot of big arguments. very exciting. it's very, very exciting to be in the middle of a national controversy like that. you know, the bell curve was probably the most controversial book that i had anything to do with, although i want to be clear in saying that it was not a book acquired by me, but by irwin glickas, acquired in secret and not divulged to anybody because he knew just how explosive it would be.
and at a certain point, he left the free press when we were part of sigh and schuster -- simon and schuster, and it ended up on my desk. so i edited and published the book, and i had to defend the book in public in many -- and in private in ways that no liberal editor would ever be expected to do. so doing what i do, the kind of thing that i have done in my career is, you know, it's challenging and and requires a certain amount of, you know, fortitude. you can't hide behind your desk when you're publishing books like the bell curve and the real anita hill which were, you know, very incendiary. after my time at free press, simon and schuster, i spent some years at doubleday as editor at large working for steve rubin who works in this building, and then i went to harpercollins
and worked for bruce nichols who's the publisher of houghton miffler harcourt, and at -- and throughout those years, i would say, conservative books were always published on a general list along with other books from other ideological persuasions. this was the general, this was the real idea originally. it was the original idea behind an outfit like the free press. we wanted conservative voices to be, to have a praise at the table -- a place at the table. we didn't want our own separate table, and so for many years i kept that up. when i went to harpercollins after publishing sarah palin's memoir "going rogue," which was a huge success, my boss at harper suggested to me that we should have a conservative imprint because a number of other houses had started them.
>> host: your own table. >> guest: that's right. and i was always, you know, a little, i was a little uneasy about the idea, but -- [audio difficulty] and so i said, yes, let's do that. i mean, we were part of news corporation. our sister companies were fox news, "the wall street journal," "the new york post," you know? there was every reason to have a flagship imprint at harpercollins that published conservative books. i was happy to do it. i ran that imprint for six or seven years. i think, you know, successfully -- >> host: broadside? >> guest: broadside books, which still exists. and, but in the course of those years as we all remember really beginning with, you know, going back to the clinton era but really sort of kicking into a new level with the 2000 election, the iraq war, the tea
party, the obama presidency, occupy wall street american politics became more and more polarized and divided. and this began to work its way into the industry and into the society at large. and i felt it in my personal life and in my professional environment. and it made me uncomfortable because i felt that we were just publishing books, you know? but when donald trump emerged as the front-runner in the republican primaries in 2016, i realized that things were never going to be the same. that neither the republican party nor the conservative intellectual movement would be what it had been. and in this actually -- so, you know, what i anticipated was whether he won or lost, and i
didn't expect he would win, win or lose i was confident that there would be a need to -- on right, if nothing else -- to go back to first principles, to rethink everything. and i see the same thing, and i think we all see the same thing on the left as well. it has its own civil war that's ongoing. so it began to become clear to me that the poles were shifting. something unprecedented. i'd been through changes before. you know, i came into publishing in 1988 at the height of the cold war, a year later the cold war was over. the cold war had been the stable backdrop for american publishing for, you know, 40 years. and everything we did, every choice we made as publishers was oriented towards the great global superpower struggle, the conflict between communism and capitalism, russia and the u.s. when that changed, when that went away, disappeared overnight, we were in new space, newer -- new territory.
and a new paradigm came into play. also of course, as we know, media, things changed in the media. the print media lost influence and authority as talk radio emerged, cable television, the internet and finally, you know, the influential columnists and the book review editor -- book reviews disappeared. the power of the print media to set the agenda and to maintain a certain standard and tone was wiped away. and so we were in new territory. and as publishers, we had to respond to that. so we're always, as publishers, responding to these changes in technology, in commerce, in culture, in politics. but to come to the -- so by the time, by the time trump was, you know, got the nomination for president it was clear to me that we were on the verge of another of these shifts. and i was excited by it.
i felt that there was going to be tremendous opportunity and that it was going to matter again in a way that it hadn't for many years. finish what choices we make as publishers, what books we choose to publish. because in times of transition and realignment in ideological confusion, people naturally turn to books. they want history, they want philosophy, they want biography, they want books about economics, they want to learn, they want to understand the policy debates, the questions, the great questions that are at issue, and i wanted to publish all of that. .. i have always saint martin's press throughout my years in publishing?
host: why? guest: there's a culture here. many people who work you have been here a long time, it's a family feeling. since loot-- leaving the free press that had that family feeling as a place where you grew up and became an editor. i worked in other companies which were more bureaucratic and large bureaucratic organizations just have that feel. you may be working a small imprint with a couple other people and that is your work family i've always felt saint martins was a place that would be hospitable to the kind of publishing that i wanted to do and that i grew up doing. so, we started talking in the summer of 16, and we quickly decided that the thing to do would be for me to come here to launch an imprint that in some way would represent a return to the free press to the
old days into the free press in the 80s and '90s i sometimes described as a high-level of intellectual food fights it was a place where people could be published from a wide variety of perspectives. they were all smart and well informed. they disagreed with one another sometimes very very sharply and would attack and criticize each other in print and it created a certain energy and the sense of we are doing something, there is a mission here. host: everyone at the same table guest: that's right, everyone at the same table. by launching an imprint by all points book emily might-- doing my best to live up to that thomas, publish all points, not some point, but all points i'm trying to re- cracks or that spirit and energy and so far it seems to be working very well.
host: at him, given your reputation as a conservative publisher editor how do you convince the teachout to come to your table? guest: it's an interesting question. first of all i'm delighted with the response of getting from the industry, primarily. i received-- were 20 years i received nothing but white ring proposals and manuscripts and now getting that from both sides. i have a lot more reading to do, but i still julie m liberated from comes-- i'm truly liberated from constraint. whatever appeals to me, whatever excites me and in some ways my taste as an editor is a shifting, interesting to see how your environment, you're setting institutional context can influence
your impulses and your instincts is not acquiring editor because we acquire out of our gut. many perfectly fine books are offered to us as editors that we don't buy because it's not our book, so you asked me about people from the left. so, what i find is that -- well, yes. first of all, my reputation. [laughter] i do have a reputation. i haven't done all that much too complicated. i didn't really think it mattered. when i started interacting with agents and authors from the left i found it did matter, and a some people didn't like the idea of on the same lists with some conservatives who i traditionally published and who i will continue to publish, but others
didn't mind and kind of liked the idea and they are one of those people. so, i feel like she is one of-- part of my gang, one of my tribe. host: so what was it like for you to work with adam bellow who has a conservative beer reputation-- conservative reputation? >> adam has a reputation as an editor and he had worked with one of my favorite writers, someone named barry lynn who was one of the first to really punch through consensus in economic thinking and say hey, one of the problems we might come in america is the problem of concentrated economic power, so when i set forth to write this book that i'm writing about, monopolies and what we can do about it, i was really excited to work with someone who understood that there's
a real moment in the american economic thinking and we have an opportunity to reshape the way we think about the economy and the relationship between the economy and the democracy. host: aren't some monopolies, though, natural? guest: the point of my book is that we are in a moment of a crisis of concentrated economic power, and that's really threatening our democracy and this consecrated corporate power is the root of semi- different issues that we see that we don't connect to concentration of power, but to answer your question there is this whole suite of tools in american history including basic antitrust breaking a big companies and also including saying once in a while there will be a company that we want
to be really big and concentrated, but if it is going to be big and concentrated, some people talk about in the language of natural monopoly then there are certain rules that have to apply and i think of these broadly as all anti- monopoly rules. they are not just smash it up. they are also if you're going to control the market that have to be neutral and you cannot discriminate in ways that you might be able to, if you were just a small fish in a big pond to. host: so, we need new rules, enforce the rules we have on hand? guest: all of the above. step one is recognizing the problem and seeing that i think a lot of people feel this incredible sense of uncertainty and destabilization and that we have a crisis of powerlessness. in fact, one of the sources of our democratic crisis is
people feeling so out of that they either check out and don't vote or choose to vote for someone who they may not agree with, but it's just who cares, doesn't matter. are not connected to power anyway and went to understand the problem is the problem of power, then we can start looking at solutions. the solutions lie in our history and in our future. we are covering all of the tools that were used up until 1981, which was when we stopped enforcing antitrust laws , but also saying we have new puzzles. the problem of big packs how do we deal with facebook and amazon and google that are similar to, but not the same as some of the monopolist of the gilded age. i will give you an example of monopoly or
monopoly crisis that i think we can all relate to. you may have heard about a farmer struggling, but at the same time plenty of people are eating corn and using soy products, so if you think about corn or soy farmer struggling there is a mystery there and the truth is there is a lot of money being made in farming. it's just not by the farmers. it's monsanto, which has a monopoly over the seed john deere, which has close to a monopoly over both the tractors and credit as farmers rely on john deere for their lending. bear, which has-- it's now merging with monsanto and then abm, which is often the sole buyer for farmers, so you can think of this farmer who you think of as the symbol of freedom
in a lot of ways, the independent farmer who still looks independent. it's still his or her own farm. we call him in our statistics independent businessman or independent businesswoman, but all his or her choices are dictated by the sport of her that control their ability to format all. that is a crisis in farming, but the more you look at different industries, the more you see the same thing. it's the middlemen taking all value and while they are taking on value they are also taking away freedom. bernie sanders talked about in his campaign that the amount of money for dollar made in agriculture by the farmer was going way down while money in farming was going way up why is that? is because most farmers
don't have choices of who to sell to. they don't have choices of who to buy from or choices of who to borrow from and when you start to be squeezed in all these different ways it's a financial crisis, but it's a freedom crisis, also because those armors aren't waking up in the morning saying i'm going to read the most recent research and figure out this way to plant my crops. they are saying if i don't plan to this way i'm not call you to be able to sell to adm or use monsanto seeds. host: zephyr teachout in your book break them up, you are also critical of the laughs and how they are fighting some of these issues. guest: i think what we have seen is in 1981 the reagan administration effectively dismantled our long history of anti- monopoly laws, but then democratic presidents after
reagan didn't then revive them. instead we came to something close to a consensus that mergers were going to happen, this monopolization of the economy was just going to happen and the left was where democrats were split between those who to easily accepted the reagan perspective and those who so fundamentally rejected the idea of marketplaces and open markets, but they weren't as interested in the anti- monopoly. i think that has changed in some people's understanding, but what hasn't changed is we haven't had and i call for in my book, we haven't had a national antitrust movements, so as much as you might talk to progress on the street about the problem of monsanto and bear merging, they should emerge i think almost
any lefty i talked to say they shouldn't merge , but there weren't protests in the street about the merger. that there weren't tens of thousands of phone calls to congressman was about it. there wasn't the kind of grassroots activism showing that this-- the missed taste. i think part of the reason is that people even on the left feel a sense of inevitability that these countries are just going to be able to do it and it's not inevitable. a big point of the book is that we have a choice we don't have to have a concentrated economy. we don't have to have three companies control of chicken distribution and two comedies control all of the year. we can actually have a thriving more innovated more decentralized economy. host: you personally attacked the government as well, i mean,
you have run as an outsider. guest: will, those are two different things. what i have been very critical of and i think it's important to recognize is that areas where averments, which is supposed to represent the public, in fact, represents big business and i have been very critical of the ways in which jumping in law we call regulatory capture where big business through the revolving door or through campaign contributions or through embedding themselves in the culture of washington, so that your friends and the people that you see on the street are all part of the same culture, has really taken over the ideology of washington. i will give an example. i was involved in the-- i cofounded a grassroots
group dedicated to breaking up big banks and to prosecuting more financial crimes after the financial crisis. broadly put, there were two approaches to the financial crisis. one was more active antitrust. let's actually break up the banks. let's not allow them to become this threat to our stability that they became before. they can't if there are no longer those behemoth that they had become and the other was to say we need more banking regulation. my belief is that you can't do number two until you do number one. that you can have effective regulations until the handful of the banks aren't actually controlling washington. so that step one has to
beat-- i will put it another way. look at the world in terms of power and to see the ways in which these big banks to some degree like big tech have not just become big corporations, but have started to governance and in order for us to make our own rules for ourselves we actually had to go to the heart of their power, not merely say let's regulate a little more here and there. host: if a book reviewer or someone in a bookstore picks up a all points books it could be ideologically scattered in a sense. yes, we are going to cover the whole range of perspectives and we publish books from the lab, we publish books from the right, we are not looking for agreement, necessarily i am interested in where there is agreement and i have a number of plans and ideas for how to explore that and get at
that. for example, i think i would like very much to do a series of issue focus books with a point counterpoint format in which we would look for areas of agreement as well as difference. but, in addition to the left and right ideological publishing that we want to do, i went to have a foundation objective neutral politically neutral publishing, so journalism, history, biography to some extent , policy because the big problem that we have in this country as far as our political level of political fairness is there's no agreement contracts and the nature of reality. now, everyone recognizes that the entire media and political and academic establishment totally miss the trump election.
so, not wagging my finger pick i didn't predicted either. did i vote for donald trump? i voted for an author of mine running for president, gary johnson, libertarian candidate. so, i claim no loyalty to my author. as far as my voting habits are concerned, i will say a voted for democrats as often i has voted for republicans. i'm a patchwork of issues and ideas and concerns that depend on what's going on in the world in the country, just like any other voter. host: so, in publishing separate teachout did you find things you agreed with when he came to business monopolies or congressman seth moulton, senator doug jones? guest: sure. you have named three of
my proudest acquisitions , zephyr who is running for i believe state attorney general now, so she is back in the political arena, which is exciting. she will have my support. and her book is about the increasing power of monopolies in our economy, their economic and political power. it's an issue that should concern everyone, are solutions the same as a libertarian conservative or someone else from the right, part of the right, probably not. that isn't really the issue. the issue is let's focus this on a problem. so, i completely support her argument. congressman moulton, seth moulton is a someone who i was attracted to because he
is a liberal democrat from massachusetts who did for tours in iraq as a marine and came back, ran an insurgent campaign against an incumbent democrat and has emerged as a very powerful voice, young voice, in the democratic caucus. what's i find appealing about him is that he can speak the language of liberal democratic politics, but also because of his background in the military the language of patriotism, loyalty, sacrifice, honor, these concepts that are very important to people on the right and his book is really a call to national service and unity respecting each other's argument and differences. it's a wonderful memoir,
also. he's had a really fascinating life. judge jones, the recently elected senator from alabama is what we call a real get. the day after his election, we signed his book. now, i will say that the reason one of the main reasons that we signed his book is that it's not a conventional politicians memoir. it's a book that he has been working on for five or six years and is the story of the decades long effort to bring to justice the klansmen who bombed the 16th free baptist church in 1963. doug jones was a young law student in 1972, i believe, when the first trial was brought. it's a long time when there was no one charged
or tried. finally, someone was tried. doug jones was in the courtroom watching the trial and when the accused was let off, field to convict, he pledged to devote his life to bring those to justice and the book is the story of the efforts made, not just by himself, but by other prosecutors, investigators to do that and it's a wonderful book. the only problem we had with it was it was too long and had to be cut down. but, it's a book that deserves to be-- to have a place on the shelf with other classic iconic books of the civil rights movement. host: adam bellow, is it still important to have a broadside of gregory, all of these conservative publishers? guest: of course. you know, i'm not criticizing the idea of
an ideological imprint. in fact, my friend, sarah bushell was an editor here at the millet-- metropolitan publishes books from the left and there's a great value in doing that. so, i'm not saying-- i'm not knocking what other people do. i'm friends with all the people who run those and wish them well. i'm not competing with them as much as i used to. you know, i signed fewer books from the right. i'm a little-- i have the luxury of being more choosy. somewhat, when you are running one of these imprints you get into a mentality we have to have it like everything, you know, like a collectors media. i have to have that and i have to have that. i don't feel that way anymore. i feel i have to balance , so if i sign up eight dinesh desousa come i want a doug jones
because i don't want the vote to till too far in one direction and i have to work extra hard as a conservative to do that. one of the things that-- host: have you had anyone refuse you because of your past work? guest: i have had people take a pass, not because of my past work, but because there is such a-- because the partisan divisions have gone so deep and they are so existential now that some people feel that it is toxic, literally to be associated with someone on the other side and this is not okay. i mean, it's okay in individual cases. you to want to be published by me? that's fine. i would be happy to publish you, but as i said before i am finding my tribe, my people. host: that kind of speaks to what of the books coming out by
all points jean schaefer. guest: so, one of my favorite projects, jean schaefer is an old friend of mine. she's married to rick burke kaiser who is also an old friend of mine, a national review journalist and author of many books, some of which i published in the past. they are a politically mixed couple. jean is a liberal and he's a conservative. they get along just fine and have been married 37 years, i think. jean came to me eight or nine months ago and said tommy know, she's a psychotherapist and said i get so may cause them from clients saying i need help. my husband won't stop watching fox or my wife won't let me watch fox and so she has seen more and more couples and she wanted to write a book about-- a relationship guide to-- for politically mixed couples, not just married couples, but
friends, relatives, colleagues so we signed her up at the book is called "i love you, but i hate your politics". guest: this has a lot of history based on my marriage with rick. at our wedding, buckley was present. his enforcer, the mccarthy's right-hand man gave a reading and the person who walked me down the aisle was one of the first people removed from his job by the mccarthy forces and the friend of ours said at the time politics makes strange bedfellows anyway, so that's been our history and i have lived as kind of the mascot of the rights and national review for many many years and it's been a very eye-opening-- host: you are very liberal? guest: yes, liberal democrat. in fact, i think-- i don't think we've ever voted the same. we both voted for
giuliani the first time and we both believe in the death penalty, but other than that we have -- literally no decision-- decisions in common, none. abortionist suicide. gun-control, all of the big hits we are on the opposite side. host: how many years have you been married? guest: thirty-seven. host: how many years happily. [laughter] host: i want to honestly say 37, but the first issues in the first years about how we would deal with it and a little did i know about .2020% of the people varied across party lines. now it's 9%, so we were already in the time when my father was a republican and my mother was a democrat kind of thing, but that's not the case anymore. so, i kind of was adopted by national review and it was very eye-opening experience in many many ways. i learned that people
who disagree with me could be good friends, could be thoughtful and could be people and wanted to spend time with even more sometimes than the people that i agree with perfectly. for instance, the last boyfriend i had before him we had perfect harmony politically. this is a learning experience for me. rick lived in a liberal world before, but i think we did have to learn-- at least i had to learn what not to talk about because he wrote an editorial. i never read them. that's how we did it. now he writes columns about life in the city and country and writes history and that's wonderful for me. it's great because now i read anything that he writes and trumps election may have been terrible for many many marriages. of the divorce rate among millennial's has gone up to 55% of people who were on different sides of a trump, but
for our marriage it's been have been. he's not a trump supporter, so we can actually talk about politics. it's a rare wonderful thing. host: the subtitle of your book is: how to protect your intimate relationship in a poisonous partisan world. is president trump in your view responsible for the drop in to political marriages? guest: no question. i wish it were true, but it is true. this has been happening since the iraq war where the polarization in the country has gotten worse and worse, but at this point i never had people e-mail me that i never met and said what can i do, and about to get divorced over politics. i've never had that happen. i've had three e-mails like that. host: was the solution? is there one? can we be self segregated? guest: i think that's insane.
it's not about politics. it's about psychology. psychology because the first thing you have to realize is you can never win a political fight with a political opponent. you debate. the reason you can't win is because you can never change another person's mind about anything, really. i was thinking what about missionaries, but not because you said they should change their minds. to me the issue of abortion as a given, i mean, it's a woman's basic rights. there is no way i'm going to change his mind this is what i've learned in 38 years, when ireland repealed the box in which women were actually dying because they couldn't get abortions-- [inaudible]
country oppressed? he did it say a word. that's what i've learned i talked to other people and he talks with people, but this doesn't belong in our relationship. it just doesn't because we have more important things to talk about and one of the most important things, i think, is what real core values are and this is the minority opinion in a sense, but i talked to a lot of people who it turns out found out the hard way. a young woman i know her father died and he-- they were very very liberal and lived in upstate new york. hotbed more than new york city. he had five-- four of them were extremely liberal. the fifth was the next marine, i think, who is evangelical. guests who showed up to help her? only one. and that was very important to her and so
my criteria for what matters is core value when new line hospital bed getting chemotherapy , which rick and i have both had to do you don't ask the preregistration of the person standing next. if you do, you are crazy host: are you saying that politics is not necessarily a binding marital force? guest: i think it can be, but i think there are other things that are much more important. is really can be a divisive met-- marital force. my favorite story-- i did 50 interviews for this book, brothers and sisters and parents and children. you don't know about the father that unfriended his son. [laughter] i have stories that can really-- yes, but one of those that was remarkable and the national review was wonderful.
i asked if any were embroiled in generous-- one couple they were both professionals, very well-off, very smart. they come from out of town to hear this talk with me. host: for the book? guest: yes. they started out both real liberal and he got more conservative and voted for trump and she was utterly devastated. they had much in common in other ways. they both had professional degrees pitch she was devastated she said how can you love me and be in my world if you believe this and i don't believe it and they were really at loggerheads. we were talking-- when i was talking about how they thought she said one thing is clear, she said they were well-off and they had a three-story house in the fancy part of a fancy city. she said i don't let him watch fox even in the
basement, three floors down. he was not allowed to watch any media that didn't agree with her and he went along with it. i said what he think it's going to do-- you can get some air pressure, do something. [laughter] anyway, i thought that was-- another thing she did and this is something i thought crossed the board, terrible thing to do. no article thrusting at your partner who has the opposite ideas, your parents, child, your husband or wife, your friend anyone. don't do it. it's a disaster. here, read this. here look at what's on your breakfast table, anything by my side. it's so alienating. host: so, you said that you never read your husband richard
brooke kaiser's op-ed to editorials what he wrote for national review. guest: yes. that's what i said. host: is that very you, though, that you have to restrict-- guest: it doesn't feel restrictive. it feels smart i know what rick thinks. i was at the dinner and i was at reagan's, i was at all of it. i know what these people think and a lot of it i get, but a lot of them i can't stand. i found a good-- this is kind of a metaphor for how i worked it out for myself. rick is also a unusual man and i don't know if he was very competitive with me if i could do it, but this was at i think this was at the dinner after course which was turned down for the supreme court and everyone stood and gave him a standing ovation. here's my problem, what why do.
do i stand up and give a standing ovation? that i couldn't do. 's should i sit down to make a statement? i didn't want to do that , so i stood up and did not clap. aback, i think is a metaphor for how you work this out plus, you have to understand what's underneath because no political fight that goes on and on like these do that i have read about, none of them are just about politics. they are about unfinished business in the relationship, unfinished business in their childhood. between siblings you should see what comes out. you think mom loved you best? what if you agree with mom and your sister doesn't? then you finally get to be closer to her and she doesn't work it's really remarkable. one thing i think that is positive for people to know is that if they really think about it and understand what's going on beneath, they
can really change how they talk about politics or how they don't talk about politics or how it affects the relationship what i did is what a number of the interviews i thought they were hope for something, most of them actually. i counseled people about look, i know you hate your sister who's a liberal and you are on the right, but would you like about her. she said wonderful sense of beauty and art and i said why don't you call her and say we had a wonderful relationship in childhood and forget about-- whether trumpets and the white house are not and i wrote him several months later and said how is it going and he said i didn't and we are talking. you have to always make the first step. that's working through any relationship, so for years plus of being a psychoanalyst has come in handy about being a political psychoanalyst
-- psychoanalyst. host: do they hold up today? guest: well,. host: the bell curve, yes all those books hold up. guest: that the book with great value of anyone that wants to understand the great tradition of conservativism. i would only say about the conservative movement today doesn't really resemble russell brooks idea. there's an argument within the conservative world about what is it mean to be conservative. this is an argument i went to engage in. i'm not person in that context. i'm happy to publish people from a broad range of perspectives. i'm happy to publish people from the left saying conservativism is a bad thing. what i would say in relation to that is that i find it more interesting these days
to publish cookbooks on left and-- critical books from left and right. right-wing attacks on liberals, i find we have run that out. i don't find it that interesting trick you can still publish those books and sell them, but they don't excite me. what i'm interested in is the sectarian argument about sites. you know, the argument between the left and the liberal is fascinating. i have a number of one of the other writers i've signed up on the left who you didn't mention is nathan robinson who's also the other of a magazine millennial socialist intellectuals called "american affairs" and he's a brilliant young author. i plan to publish all of them because i'm-- is
the millennial generation is what we really should be talking about. if i could hand the keys to the conservative intellectual movement to the millennial generation today, i would do it because i have been very impressed people knock millennial's picks sometimes i do to. my children are millennial's, i feel entitled, but i find the generation to be very serious and ernest, principled and non- doctrinaire in. a lot of attention is paid to those who are, but i find that the young writers and intellectuals who come to my office are thinking broadly and in original terms about problems that we all share. host: adam bellow, have you had your own set of ideas challenged in this process with all points?
guest: do i have set ideas? i'm not sure i do. a lifetime of editing books has diffused me of the notion that i know anything. remember, i was educated democratically by alan bloom i was radicalized. what is that mean? it means i'm less of the conservative as he was in the same way that alan was not really a conservative. someone who is interested in argument and ideas and seeing, you know in one of the dialogues, alan, let's see where the logo is to go. is about a beautiful thing. we will see. ideas are alive. they have spiritual reality. we don't invent them.
in a way i have a priestly function, so that's my view. i'm not here to be proven right or wrong. host: "new york times" profile all points quote it's true or public culture has become overly polarized and people no longer argue in a respectful way with one another. i'm sure i had something to do with that. guest: yes. is that a confession or a boast? i'm not sure. host: they are your words. guest: i remember saying those things and reading them in the paper. yeah, i had something to do with it because as an editor i had to adapt and adjust the conditions in which i operated. you have to-- this is a business. you have to sell books and so every time something comes in we
consider it as does it meet our standards, you know, does it reflect our taste, if you will as publishers? and will we sell enough copies to make it worthwhile, so yes. in some respects i would say certainly in the early phase of my career when we were on the attack and kind of charging up san juan hill, you know, and we were outnumbered and outgunned there was a sense that we were at war. there was a kind of a warlike feeling. we used the phrase culture war, but advisedly it is a war. it has been a war. host: can you give an example of a culture war and do you agree with alexander altar of the "new york times" when she refers to
you as a neoconservative cultural warrior? guest: so, the term neoconservative is as you know facts. when i became a book editor in the 80s, to be a neoconservative and to be someone who read the public interest magazine basically it's meant that you were a cold war liberal who had ideas to the right primarily for foreign-policy or foreign-policy concerns, but neil conservativism originally were liberal on social polity-- policy and were kind of a mix. during the bush-- george w. bush presidency the term neoconservative came to mean something else and so i don't use the word to describe myself. although, i would say a still consider myself to be the old kind of neoconservative.
the question of what you choose to publish has to be always considered in the light of: not just what your interests are, but what the public wants, so we will publish books that sometimes that confirm precedents is as well as challenges and that's really what it comes down to. it's sort of what is our relationship in public taste? if you are a fiction editor, uis went to be with public taste. you want to be publishing books that people want to reason-- read in large numbers. you don't want to publish books that turn people off. there are people who
have made important careers of publishing books that were censored, that were suppressed, considered dangerous in the literary spearhead, henry miller, james joyce. these are great books, but they violated the literary public taste of their time and-- and political publishing there are always two sides and you have the choice to do both, in my experience. you take a position regarding certain principles or certain outlooks. you defendant. you criticize it. you are you against the other side. then, as things change as there is a shift in what people care about
and what people are arguing about you move into a new area. i'm not sure i'm answering your question. would you mind restating it? host: give an example of a culture war going on today. guest: there's a huge culture war about donald trump. i was asked to not long ago whether the trump boom in publishing was going to decline. you know, in my experience as a political editor most presidencies are two terms. i don't know about donald trump, but there is a kind of that pattern with every presidency in terms of publishing. i would say in the beginning your publishing books and then in in the first term later your publishing sort of policy books and interim books about what the administration is it doing. in the second term you start to get the scandal books, the disgruntled former cabinet member-- officers and the other
side is sort-- sort of has you more on their side. during the last two years people are tired. they are just like i can't take anymore. just like i will shut down and wake me up when the next guy is in office. that's been the pattern. so, we have six or seven years of obama books, then before that george bush books, clinton books. the appetite for books about a president never goes away appeared donald trump, however, is an exception even to that rule because everything he does and has done from the very beginning has been intensely controversial. he's a mystery in some ways. he's still a mystery. i find and this will actually gets me into a subject that i wanted to raise also which is my interest in fiction. i have started to publish a list of
political novels and one of the reasons-- host: the island? guest: that's an outside project. liberty island is a small independent publishing operation i created a few years ago to publish books that are being written by conservatives and libertarians on authors and mostly a genre fiction category fiction and these are books that couldn't be published in mainstream commercial publishing because they are just a little too sectarian. but, i did feel a need to create a feeder system for these people who are self-publishing, primarily. many of them are talented. i also felt the need for the conservative movement to move a little bit more in the direction of contesting the space of public culture. basically what i argue is that the culture war has as we practiced it
in the 80s and 90s and 2000's has come to a stalemate-- stalemate and no one will be persuaded anymore by fact-based arguments. you have reached the limit of what you can do with that. what the right needs to do is to engage in the call-- the culture war was never really a culture war. you had to really engage the spirit of culture properly. now, we can and i'm very interested in fostering more of that. the right needs to tell that her stories and to be more entertaining and we are always talking about narratives. the larger problem, though, is that i see in the thing i'm trying to address with bipartisan list of political novels is that the distinction between politics and entertainment has disappeared. everything is politics and at the same time
everything is entertainment, so donald trump is politics and entertainment. the nfl is entertainment and politics. there's no difference anymore. i find that to be as an unprecedented situation, but at the same time it seems to me that it's only novelist, fiction writers who can really give an account of what's going on in this country. beginning with donald trump, the journalistic class i think has largely failed to explain who this person is and how he could have become president. i'm a pretty sure gabriele garcia marquez would be able to give us a much more interesting accounts of how a person of this nature, this kind of person was able to rise to the top of a certain society at a certain time. so, very excited about the opportunity to
publish for the first time in my career works of fiction. host: adam bellow, when you look at some of the books coming out by all appoints this year and next it will be an interesting dinner-- party if you brought us people together. dick morris, fab mom, james o'keefe. guest: they are all very nice people with excellent to table manners, all different kinds of book jackets as well. host: what goes into your thought process when you design or approve a book jacket? guest: well, as you know from covering publishing for a long time packaging as we call it packaging books is a collaborative process. every time we bring a list to-- we form a list for a particular season. we have a packaging meeting with our art department in publishing team and the book is discussed. what is it about? who is the audience?
we look at the author's previous books. we consider whether to illustrate or do it all in type and then we go through design process. so, each book-- we want each book to have a very distinctive look. if you gone into a bookstore recently i'm sure you've noticed its explosion of color and texture and variety. whenever i go to a barnes & noble i'm just envious, not just of the books that are being published by other houses, but the beauty of the packaging, originality, the real art form. so, every book gets its own look and we go through various iterations until everyone is happy including the author and there's no one determined outcome. sometimes you are lucky and get like an inspired
idea right away. sometimes you have to go through the different versions, but in the end of a book gets a cover. host: adam bellow is all points books a disruptor? guest: oh, i hope so. claiborne disruptor. are not happy unless i'm disrupting and now i have the latitude to disrupt everything, so i've never been happier or more energized. one of the things i'm going to be able to do that i think will help a great deal is to bring in a second editor. i'm looking for a younger editor from the left could this is something i did at the free press when i became editorial director there in the mid- 90s. i brought in a young left-wing editor and supported his acquisitions and fostered his career. i'm looking forward to doing that again because i think it's important to reflect in the
architecture of the imprints what we are doing. that we are serious and that person albeit a younger person will be my partner and someone who who is given full scope to express what they think is important, the issues that resonate with the writers whom they think are the most exciting particularly younger voices, so that's the ident if that's great-- disruptive, so be it. >> every year book tv sits down with publishing industry professionals to discuss the publishing process. you can watch any of these programs on our website, book tv.org. just type publishing industry in the search bars at the top of the page and scroll through hundreds of results from interviews with publishers at book expo america, the industry's annual traits show.
conversations. here's a look at some books being published this week. indefinitely nation conservative political commentator provides a critical history of the democratic party. fox news host greg got felt offers a collection of his monologues from his television show. in the lost education of forest emory university professor recalls the life of georgia state senator and civil rights activist. in the strange case of doctor cooney, don rafal recounts the life of martin cooney who was an innovator in the care of premature infants while also making money displaying them at carnivals. look for these titles at bookstores this coming week and watch for many authors in the near future on book tv on c-span2.
book tv recently visited capitol hill to as mems of congress what they are reading this summer. >> well, i've always tried to read several different books at the same time. they always have some nexus to the things i'm working on. one of the books i'm reading now is called "treating people well". its bite lieberman, social secretary to george w. bush. they wrote this book because they thought stability was really important because frankly as we have seen the decline of civility in our political life and even in our communities and our workplace, it's resulted in loss of productivity. it's resulted in just hurt feelings and so this is a great book about how we can treat people better. i incorporated this book into something that joyce beatty and i created. we created the civility and respect caucus that
almost 30 of our colleagues are in. they hefted agreed to go to each other's district and talk about civility in one of the things we talk about is based on this book. we always donate this book to one of the libraries if we go to a school or a community foundation. we will donate it to a library in that community, so i think civility is something i care deeply about because i believe that it is-- incivility is ripping our social fabric apart so this is one of the books that i've read, finished and reread frequently because i can get that important. a couple other books, one by the harvard business review and it's a quick read. i just got the other day. 10 must reads on leadership. not only in my member of congress and employ people here, but i'm a brigadier general in the ohio national guard and lead people there so i try to stay on the
forefront of what's going on with leadership readings and how we can get things done because both in congress and in my job in the military we win the through people and their leading people to the right result and so i always try to read something on leadership. another book in a similar vein-- rain, successful people. the whole point of this book is that success is about who we are, but the things we do and that we can change how successful we are if we are willing to add successful habits that can help change outcomes one of the reasons i'm reading this is because i want to succeed for the people i'm here to represent, so anything i can learn to do a better job being successful as a member of congress and getting results to people is something i want to do, so this book, i think, is a great little read. it's only about 100 pages long and it's next