Archive for the ‘Book Reviews’ Category

Tribal Politics

June 29, 2018

The MSNBC news show Morning Joe is a vehement critic of the Trump administration, often to the point that it fails to recognize when something positive occurs, such as the meetings with North Korea. The show’s focus on people more than policies has coincided with polls showing a strengthening of Republican support for the President which is now in the mid 40% range, and much higher amongst registered Republican voters This seems remarkable at a time when the child separation from parents at the border issue dominates the headlines. It is a warning to Democrats, who have produced few leadership candidates to-date and need to make a strong showing in the 2018 midterm elections. It is also possible that the strong Republican support for Trump is due in part to the decline in people declaring themselves Republican, and thus the remaining hardcore results in a high percentage figure.

To return to Amy Chua’s thesis about problems created by societies being segregated into tribes (see previous posting). She makes an interesting observation that the British Empire consisted of a multitude of countries each one made up of often warring tribes.

“In India, some forty thousand British Officers and soldiers governed approximately 200 million Indians for nearly two hundred years. By contrast, America could not hold Vietnam for ten years, couldn’t stabilize Afghanistan for five, and couldn’t unify Iraq for even one.” (16)

There are many differences between the British and American situations then and now, and the British had their failures especially three times in Afghanistan, a country which no power (British, Russian or American) seems able to govern. But the concept of any society consisting of tribes or interest groups is a useful one in today’s world, where communications technology allows individuals to form tribes to pursue narrow interests. One example is the formation of tribes by sexual proclivities, from male and female “Facebook lists more than 50 gender designations…..Originally LGB, variants over the years have ranged from GLBT to LGBTI to LGBTQQIAAP as preferred terminology shifted and identity groups quarreled who should be included and who should come first.” (184).

Tribal politics has arisen in Europe with the distinction made between citizens and the influx of undocumented foreigners (not unlike the US). Germany, France, Italy, Hungary and Spain have seen the rise of populist parties and leaders. And the Brexit vote was due in part to pressures to limit the inflow of foreigners in the face of EU policies.

North America’s geographical circumstance, bordered by the Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific oceans discourages easy migration, but where the land border exists with Mexico problems abound. Canada is fortunate in a geographical sense but similar pressures of increasing tribalism could emerge here. The seeds already exist in part with French/English, east/ west, urban/rural, male/female, religious groupings, and others. These could germinate into something unsettling.

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Clashing Tribes

June 21, 2018

I am constantly in search of explanations for why after 18 months of his presidency 30-40% of the American electorate continues to support Trump. The following authors have provided me with some understanding, Hillbilly Elegy A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D.Vance, Strangers in their Own Land by Arlie Hochschild, White Trash: The 400 Year History of Class in America, and Amy Chua,  Political Tribes, Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations. All provide important insights into the American political scene. Chua was Vance’s mentor for his book.

 

Amy Chua describes how societies take shape by individuals forming and joining a series of groups or tribes. These represent a wide variety of interests some of which are political groups promoting certain viewpoints. Think of all the groups to which people belong for religion, sports, charities, education as well as politics. Each pursues particular interests and may join groups made up of those with similar interests, thus the tribes. But tribes can be rivalrous as well as cohesive. Today it is the rivalry between groups which permeates US politics.

 

Chua’s focus is on the group of tribes that form or support political parties.  At present in the US there are two main political tribes, Democrats and Republicans. Each of these will differ depending on what part of the country they inhabit so of that there are tribes within tribes. Southern Democrats may have different interests from Democrats in the north, east and west coast of the US. Traditional Republicans may differ from |Tea Party Republicans.

 

Trump’s supporters are more closely associated with Republicans, but also with white working class voters who, while previously Democrats, feel that they have not enjoyed the prosperity of many and who are attracted to slogans like “draining the swamp” where the beneficiaries are said to reside. So there are tribes within tribes and the traditional distinction between Democrats and Republicans is now muddied.

 

Trump is also well received by white voters in areas where economic prosperity has lagged behind for certain occupations. On the Democratic side, at the same time, Bernie Sanders appealed to similar voters and at election time they may well have voted for Trump or abstained from voting at all which gave an advantage to the Republicans.

 

Amy Chua describes how other countries consist of a series of tribes, Sunni, Shia and Kurds in Iraq, Chinese and Vietnamese in Vietnam, white, black, Asian and Latino in the US, French and English in Canada for example. Countries tend to prosper if they manage to get these groups to live and work together peacefully, or live in a situation of constructive tension.

 

Within the US, Trump’s most loyal supporters come from the one percent very wealthy white citizens associated with the traditional Republican tribe like the Koch brothers, and the middle and low income white Americans who feel they have received a raw economic deal from previous Republican and Democrat administrations. To-date, Trump has managed to appeal to both groups and retain their support. (Treatment of illegal immigrants from Mexico, especially the separation of families may lose him support, but Trump is so adept at changing the channel when public opinion turns against him that the end of this story is unclear.)

 

The gist of Chua’s argument is that the friction between the various tribes in the US is associated with growing income inequality which is not being offset by opposing political forces. When this happened in other places and at other times there could be a popular revolt. As the Wizard of Id once said, “The peasants are revolting”. In the US the revolt is taking place at official election time. It could evolve into something nastier.

 

Back to Beer and Hockey

June 4, 2018

Back to Beer and Hockey, The Story of Eric Molson by Helen Antoniou is part history of Molson the company, part of Molson the family, and part of the hockey team that the Molson family has owned. The three are interwoven in a variety of ways that focus on the man and his career.

Hockey is a well-defined game with winners and losers overseen by officials. Corporations like teams operate in a competitive environment which creates winners and losers within a framework of rules. Families are groups of individuals, who too are competitive, but where there is no referee to call the plays. When families become involved in corporate decision-making outcomes are difficult to predict but can be important for the future of a company. (A useful understanding of family behaviour is found in Robin Skynner and John Cleese, Families and how to survive them (Methuen, 1983)).

Future researchers will find the book a valuable source for a study of how senior management of a company operates as the market for its product changes; how family members with different interests and ambitions interact in pursuing their corporate related ambitions; and how the game of hockey infiltrates and permeates this family and their behaviour. The book is written from the viewpoint of Eric Molson who, while in retirement, gave the author, his daughter-in-law, interview access and declined to read it until it was published.

The history starts with the founding of the company in 1786 and the arrival from Scotland of John Molson. Since then and up to its merger with Coors, making it the world’s third largest brewing company, control was exercised through a restricted distribution of voting shares among Molson family members. Today, control is exercised jointly with the Coors company. Along the way it tried to diversify without success into other product markets.

Any corporate historian will want to read this book to understand what motivates executives, especially the controlling shareholders. Family dynamics are unique to each situation and difficult to predict ex ante. The inclusion of a blue ribbon hockey franchise in the corporate-family mix makes it harder to predict what the future may bring for the business of beer. The growth of craft breweries is a factor affecting industry competition.

Why Trump Prevails

April 18, 2018

After eighteen months, Republican voters remain committed to Trump. David Brooks, writes in the NYT, (April 2018) that 89% of Republicans have a positive view of Trump, and 59% of Republicans support Trump more than the Republican party. (This is written before any of the contents of the files of Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen have been made public.)

Based on past voting preferences, at present, the 2018 midterm elections will see a number of Congressional seats switch from Republican to Democrat. Whether this is enough to give the Democrats a majority in Congress is unclear. Their leadership is weak and has a track record of screwing up. Gaining a Senate majority is probably out of the Democrats’ reach at this time. Listening to Senate and House Republicans who will not run in the midterms, it sounds like there are strong differences within the party that they do not want to face. There are differences among Democrats too, with a strong wing supporting Bernie Sanders.

Two books help to explain Trump’s continuing support. The first is J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy, which describes life in the back woods of Kentucky. Job loss there has resulted from a combination of the fall in demand for and the mechanization of coal mining.

On a longer term basis, Nancy Isenberg’s White Trash: The 400-Year History of Class in America, describes the origins of the class system in America and its continuation to today. The origins in the 1500s and 1600s are associated with the early investors who needed cheap labour.

 

In grand fashion, promoters imagined America not as an Eden of opportunity, but as a giant rubbish heap that could be transformed into productive terrain. Expendable people – waste people – would be unloaded from England; their labour would germinate a distant wasteland. Harsh as it sounds, the idle poor, dregs of society, were to be sent thither simply to throw down manure and die in a vacuous muck.  (2-3).

America was conceived of in paradoxical terms: at once a land of fertility and possibility and a place of outstanding wastes…Here was England’s opportunity to thin out its prisons and siphon off thousands; here was an outlet for the unwanted, a way to remove vagrants and beggars, to be rid of London’s eyesore population.

 

The rest of Isenberg’s book describes how this part of the population evolved and persists to today. It does not deal with slavery and its impact, although that would be part of the story.

Traces of this past are found in TV shows like Ozzie and Harriet, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Honeymooners, and today Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. The film To Kill a Mockingbird provides a portrait of class in America.

In order to know how America might emerge from Trumpism it is useful to learn about how it got there, and to ponder whether Canada could follow a similar path. The volumes by Vance and Isenberg provide excellent background reading for the US.

 

Next Scene in the Trumpian Saga

April 4, 2018

Switch the spotlight from the man to his audience and a different picture emerges, not one that claims headlines but perhaps should. Since the 2016 election, the news has been about Trump and the gang of players who huddle nervously around him in the White House. Trump views them as loyalists until they do something which irritates him, and then they are gone, to be replaced by other supposed loyalists.

The voters who support the Trump gang fluctuate between 30 and 40 percent of the electorate. One poll in early April 2018 had them at 42 percent. Despite what many consider disruptive and unstable behavior, the gang leader retains the solid support of his loyalists, or has done so to-date. The question is who are these supporters and why?

Two books help to provide answers, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance, and Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right by Arlie Hochschild. Two others I intend to read are White Trash: The 400-Year History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg, and Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations by Amy Chua. The latter two deal with the same general topic providing clues to how the Trump experience may evolve.

Vance was born and schooled in Appalachia, enlisted in the US Marine Corps with time spent in Iraq. He graduated from Ohio State University and Yale Law School, where his mentor was Professor Amy Chua. He is now a venture capitalist, author and commentator, circumstances that allow him to explain the conditions and attitudes of poor white people in the US, and why, so far, they continue to support Trump.

Arlie Hochschild is a Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. While researching her book, she spent time in Louisiana, the second poorest state in the US, living with and interviewing mostly poor whites. She is a west coast liberal who managed to mix with people in Louisiana from very different backgrounds to herself, and who were able to articulate why they felt disenfranchised, having little influence in Washington. For them Trump offered some hope, and may still do so today.

In a review of Hochschild, the circumstances of poor white southerners are described as follows:

“You are patiently standing in line for the American Dream. You are white, Christian, and of modest means and getting along in years. You are male. There are people of colour behind you and in principle you wish them well. But you’ve waited long, worked hard and the line is barely moving. Then you see people cutting in line ahead of you. Some of these are on the dole, taking money from low paid white workers.”

Resentment builds when enough people feel aggrieved, leading to opportunistic charlatans – dictionary definition, a boastful unscrupulous pretender – taking advantage of the situation. Defusing it takes time while social media quickly spreads the discontent.

I have no idea where this will all end but I wonder how far Trump is willing to go in playing the nuclear card, or causing someone else to play it. Either outcome would be catastrophic

Review of Trumpocracy by David Frum

March 1, 2018

David Frum’s Trumpocracy, The Corruption of the American Republic, (Harper Collins, 2018) provides clues to understanding Trump’s voter appeal. Leaving aside the millionaire and billionaire backers who have a direct financial interest in lower taxes and less regulation, the majority of his supporters (by numbers not wealth) feel that their living standards have not kept pace with the economic developments resulting from rapidly changing technology and globalization. To them, a Trump administration could be no worse than the status quo and what occurred under eight years of the previous Democratic presidency, so why not vote for him. For them there were no alternatives.

Frum, Ch. 10, summarizes the Trump management style as follows:

“Trump did not merely fail to organize his government. He actively sabotaged organization wherever it began to take form….The Trump administration settled for …. paralyzing the state either by failing to staff it….or by filling its ranks with incompetents and self-seekers, by trashing ethical rules, and by abdicating the responsibility of the president and the White House to set policy and then confirm that policy is in fact executed. Trumpocracy as a system of power rests not on deregulation but on no regulation, not on deconstructing the state but on breaking the state in order to plunder the state.” (100-101). (This is very much the view of Bannon, an on and off Trump political guru, and of how Trump operated his businesses (99).)

Trumpocracy, Ch 10, Resentments, best describes who were and many remain Trump’s supporters or the 30 percent. While indications can be gleaned from the following quotes, reading this chapter provides a far more complete understanding.

Trump’s supporters were often millennials (those born between 1982 and 2004) who were opposed to prevailing political correctness (192-3).

The radicalization of white men. Trump supporters love him because of his sexism. (194-5).

The dwindling rate of steady employment for young white men brought these into the fold (195).

Growth in online support for pornography. Pornhub, one of the largest sites started in 2007 had 5 million visits in July 2008 and 50 million on 2015. Americans had the largest number of visits, 192 page views per US resident followed by Canada with 165. (196).

Hillary Clinton’s candidacy repelled US whites. (197). White male Democrats backed Sanders far more than Clinton. (197).

Trump is a post-religious conservative. He does not hate gays, and does not care if women have abortions. His supporters are like a labyrinth with no centre, because that is how they feel and how the world works around them. (199).

Among non-Hispanic whites life expectancy is actually declining, while suicides are rising especially among males. (201).

Perhaps this can be summarized as follows, Trump supporters felt they had nothing to lose by voting for him. Whether they will feel that way in the midterm 2018 elections or the 2020 presidential election is open for speculation.

Review of WTF by Robert Peston

March 1, 2018

North Americans are so immersed in Trumpocracy that they often fail to see the connections to Brexit and the the rise of populist politics in Europe. Robert Peston in WTF provides an explanation or wtf is going on by showing the similarities between what is taking place on both sides of the Atlantic.

These are remarkable and represent different brands of populism. In the UK none of the cognoscenti realized that Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader would do so well in the 2016 UK election and now could become Prime Minister. In the US few of the same group imagined that Trump would win the presidency but he did, and daily we witness the turmoil that ensues.

Trump and Corbyn understood that large chunks of the electorate in their countries had not prospered from economic change resulting from the combination of technological change and globalization. Each man tapped this vein of discontent. One became President, the other the likely next Prime Minister.

So far, populism has not shown its face in Canada except perhaps with the Ford brothers in Toronto. The extremes of political correctness and multiculturalism, and opposing views on immigration could change all of this. No country is immune from the what is making news in other countries.

A word about Robert Peston who has been a journalist focusing on business and economic affairs for both the BBC and ITV. His father Maurice Peston taught at LSE when I studied there in the 1960s. Maurice was born in London, the son of Polish Jewish parents who came as refugees to the UK in the 1930s. Maurice Peston had a distinguished academic career, received a peerage and became an active labour member of the House of Lords focusing on economic issues. Father and son were/are aware of the how political turmoil can emerge from conditions of gross income inequality combined with racism.

Sapiens, A Brief History of Humankind – A Review

December 7, 2017

Yuval Harari, Sapiens, A Brief History of Humankind (McClelland and Stewart, 2014)

 

There is no need to read this review of Sapiens by Yuval Harari as there are many excellent ones to read online, with praise offered by notables such as Barack Obama, Bill Gates and Jared Diamond. Harari is an historian at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, with a doctorate in history from Oxford. The author traces the origins and evolution of humans (homo sapiens) from 13.5 billion years ago, the Big Bang. Emphasis is placed on the past 200,000 years as humans are traced from Africa and their subsequent spread throughout the world. All inhabitants of North America, for example, are migrants from different times starting about 50,000 years ago.

Anyone who remains convinced that the Book of Genesis contains the genuine account of the creation of man and the universe should not bother with this book. The same goes for other religious beliefs about the universe’s beginnings. Accepted scientific findings to-date explain the origins in terms of the Big Bang.

Homo sapiens is one type of animal belonging to the genus homo. It has happened, largely by luck, to have become top-dog, so to speak, among other homos such as chimpanzees, gorillas and orang-utangs.

Harari traces the evolution of man through three stages, the Cognitive Revolution (about 70,000 years ago), the Agricultural Revolution (about 12,000 years ago) and the Scientific Revolution (500 years ago). How this is likely to end is the subject of another book Homo Deus to be reviewed later.

The Cognitive Revolution describes how sapiens evolves as hunter-gatherers to provide food and shelter for their families; the Agricultural Revolution sees the creation of a division of labour as family members specialize in certain tasks, with males undertaking farming activities on fixed plots of land, as opposed to wandering around gathering food, and females mind things on the home front; and the Scientific Revolution sees the development of new sources of power as, for example, steam power and later electricity and atomic power substitute over time for horsepower and manual labour. The outcome is today’s industrialized political economy found in many parts of the world.

Evidence of life in Cognitive times is found today in aboriginals living in Australia and in tribes travelling in the Amazon rainforest and places like Papua New Guinea. And examples of the Agricultural Revolution are found throughout Africa, and parts of Asia.

The book is written in clear non-jargon prose. Harari developed it for a course in world history and listened carefully to the feedback from students, the questions they asked and the clarification that was needed. Would that other textbook writers did the same thing. Aside from history, the author has a good grasp of economics, sociology and politics.

One set of concepts used throughout the book are terms like imagined order and myths to explain ways in which societies are organized. Formal education and family life teach people about the merits of families, the state, religions and things like paper money. The last is based on the belief that others will accept it in exchange for goods and services even though the paper notes have no intrinsic value. The structure of societies and their interaction is based on beliefs, which are accepted truths by people that things will happen or people will behave in a certain way. There is nothing concrete about these norms of behavior, but societies operate as though they should be followed. Laws are passed and attempts made to enforce them. When they are not accepted then conflict is likely to occur.

There is no substitute for reading this book. I have read it twice, and will use it as a reference in the future to explore a wide variety of topics covering different disciplines.

The Promise of Canada by Charlotte Gray – A review

November 7, 2016

I would strongly recommend this book to all diplomats posted to Canada, as well as to all Canadians posted abroad who need to understand the history of their country. In fact, the same is true for all Canadians who, if like me, may think they know how Canada evolved but would be pushed to identify all the relevant factors. Charlotte Gray has done this in a brilliantly researched and written way.

I came to Canada from the UK over sixty years ago and have lived here ever since, except for a period of study at the London School of Economics. Two years after arrival I became a landed immigrant and after a further thirteen a citizen. My children and grandchildren are all Canadian by birth.

Charlotte Gray arrived in 1979 and has become a superb chronicler of the evolution of Canada over the past two centuries. In my time here, I have not fully appreciated what was going on around me, but now I do, as she has skillfully authored an account of the country’s evolution from the time of politician Sir George-Etienne Cartier (1814-1873) to rapper Shad (1982- who is new to me).

It requires an enormous amount of skilled research (using both secondary sources and interviews) to develop these materials, and still more to integrate them into an intelligent portrait of a country which has grown in both size and numerous other ways.

Canadian literary blue-bloods have rightly given the book outstanding reviews. Rather than add to these, I will try to outline several things I have learned or have come to appreciate about Canada.

  1. One starting point to understanding Canada is geography, both its relation to other parts of the world, and what goes on inside. As for the latter, there are very few people in Canada in terms of population density or persons per square km. In 1961, the figure was 2/sq km and in 2015 4/sq km. Comparable figures for other countries are Russia 7 and 9; US 20 and 35; China 70 and 146; Singapore 2541 and 7829. Canada is largely empty.
  2. By far the majority of Canadians live in urban areas,18 million (about 60 %) in the ten largest metropolitan areas as of 2011. A light map of the country shows most of these people living close to the US border, while large swathes of the country are drenched in darkness.
  3. The rural population expects preferred treatment and often has difficulty in making its voice heard. The continuation of such measures as supply management for dairy products shows that in some instances this occurs.
  4. The diverse regions in which Canadians live include the Maritimes, Central Canada, the Prairies, British Columbia and the North. The economic, cultural and social character of each has meant that it is often difficult to get agreement on things that affect the whole country, and explains why parts, especially French Canada, from time to time toy with separation. Holding the parts together is a continuing challenge for federal politicians.
  5. All Canadians are immigrants who have arrived at different times. The original settlers came out of Africa about 60,000 to 100,000 years ago, travelling up to and through today’s Russia, across the land bridge to Alaska and down into North and South America. Later settlers, the ones most often covered in history books, came from Europe, especially the French, English, Dutch and Spanish. The arrival of each changes the lives of those already there, and does so for migrants arriving today.

It is how Canada has and continues to respond to these geographic and demographic factors which has influenced how the country has and may evolve in the future. Charlotte Gray’s detailed portraits of nine Canadians from different walks of life, politician, policeman, artist, academic, lawyer, and vignettes of five others (journalist, business, mayor, rapper and pop artist) provides the reader with an outstanding introduction to understanding Canada today and how we got here from there.

Roald Dahl by David Sturrock

October 18, 2016

“Mr Dahl could tell and write a good yarn but he certainly was a boozy, misogynistic, misanthropic git in the flesh.” (Anon).

 

Asked by the family to write a biography of Roald Dahl (1916-1990) presents the author with a challenge in selecting and interpreting the facts. Dahl was an enormously talented author of children’s books like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, while at the same time having a number of less than desirable personal and personality traits. Rather than list these flaws, which can best be grasped by reading David Sturrock’s excellent biography of Dahl (Simon and Schuster, 2010), following are some of the ingredients which are associated with Dahl’s career as a writer. I don’t think it is a formula which can or needs to be repeated, but some may see similarities with other writers.

 

Any biography of Dahl has to include his Norwegian parents, his birth in Wales and education at English boarding schools with their disciplinary features which included beating, bullying and buggery, plus fairly spartan living conditions. Dahl survived all of these because he was a big boy, six foot six inches when a grown up, and was not the focus of older boys, or even masters, when he was young. He was also good at sports especially rugby, squash and fives (a form of handball played in a squash type court). He did not attend university.

 

Dahl’s size brings to mind the Peter Cook and Dudley Moore sketch where pupil Cook is to be beaten by housemaster Moore for stealing some shoes. After a scolding by Moore, Cook points out that “while you are older and wiser than me, I am bigger than you,” and Moore ends up congratulating Cook.

 

At the start of WW2, age 23, Dahl joined the RAF and learned to fly. His plane crashed in the North African desert leaving him alive, but badly burnt and requiring extensive plastic surgery. Amazingly this does not show up in later photographs. Much of the rest of the war was spent as a junior RAF officer doing public relations at the British Embassy in Washington, where he met President Roosevelt and played tennis with Vice-President Wallace.

 

His relationship with the British Ambassador, Lord Halifax, who had been sent there by Churchill to remove him from Whitehall, was strained. Halifax had been a contender with Churchill for prime minister in 1940, and had previously wanted England to make a deal with Hitler. Given the number of Americans who at the start of the war were pro-German, and the reluctance of many in the US to assist the U.K. financially and with weapons, Halifax seems like an odd choice for ambassador. Churchill was more astute in dealing with the Germanophile Duke of Windsor, by sending him as Governor of the Bahamas from 1940 to 1945. Dahl’s role in Washington was writing PR pieces on behalf of England and attending social gatherings.

 

While Dahl was accomplished with his pen, he was, from an early age, active and popular with the ladies. He married twice, first in 1953 Patricia Neal (1926 – 2010), the American star who in 1963 won the Best Actress award for her role in Hud. They had five children, one of whom died age seven, and another who suffered brain damage after being hit by a taxi in New York. Neal suffered a stroke in 1965 from which she recovered with Roald’s help and was able to continue her career. The marriage ended in divorce in 1983. Dahl had taken up with Felicity Crosland whom he married in 1983 and who survived Dahl’s death in 1990.

 

His penmanship (actually he used pencils), while accomplished from an early age, took time to generate much money and it was not until his children’s books took off from the 1960s, and some became films, that he had the funds to pursue the lifestyle that he craved. That included collecting and appreciating wines, gambling, greyhound racing, travelling and meeting important people, especially in the US and UK.

 

If this combination of personality, interests, behaviour and so on are the necessary ingredients for the creativity that produces books which have such wide appeal to children and many adults, then it seems to be something that happens fortuitously rather than being created.

 

Dahl was/is an enormously successful author of childrens books. Aside from his own talents, his interaction with the publishing industry is instructive. He worked closely with agents, publishers, editors, artists and publicists to shape and market his written work. While the author often gets most of the credit and public acclaim, it is because he or she has a team of people that helps to produce and distribute the final work. This is not unlike theatre, film, dance and music. David Sturrock’s Dahl is a fine case study of how it can all fit together in the case of publishing. Fortunately for today’s audience much of Dahl’s work is available in some form via the internet. A Roald Dahl museum in Great Missenden, UK, is extremely popular…..especially with children.