I’m really happy to announce that my latest book, Political Writing: A Guide to the Essentials, is being published today by M.E. Sharpe.Before anyone gets too excited about this (yes, that’s a joke….) let me note that this book is not like Telltale Hearts (1995) or Jewcentricity (2009). It is more of a “how to” book: in this case, how to master the various forms of political writing. It is an extension in book form of lecture notes prepared for a course I taught on several occasions in recent years. The lecture notes, in turn, found their source in the fact that I have actually done all of these forms of political writing over the past thirty-plus years, more or less for a living.In truth, the book turned out to be a little more interesting than mere “how to”-related lecture notes would have been. The reason is that I felt obligated to tell readers a little something about the origins of the forms of political writing, because I don’t think it’s possible to master a form without knowing something about its history and original purposes. I also felt obligated to discuss in a brief opening chapter something about the nature of political language itself. But the result is still far from a broad-ranging analytical treatment of some political/historical issue like the two books mentioned above.David Brooks very generously captures the tone of what I was trying to achieve in the forward to the book:
In these pages, Adam Garfinkle holds up a standard of excellence for how to think, argue, and be… not only how to present an argument and write a column, but how to be a serious person… If you absorb the wisdom that he has distilled in this little book, it will help you to have a much bigger impact on this world.
Naturally I encourage everyone to buy the book in one form or another, because I need the money: My daughter is getting married in a few weeks, and this turns out to be a very expensive proposition! But that aside, I think it’s a book that will do people some good to read, especially in these muddle-headed times where almost everyone is a pundit and almost nobody is a thinker. Because there’s no better way to truly come to grips with what you think than by writing about it, and there’s no way to write well without learning how to think.