I’ve always been fascinated by politics–or at least since roughly the 5th grade, when I picked up a pictorial biography of FDR from a bookshelf in my family’s house. Soon, I was reading more sophisticated studies of FDR (Burns, Schlesinger, etc.), opening up broader interests that eventually led me to a Ph.D. in political science (Columbia, 1976). I had been heading for an academic career, but I wound up outside the academy, working for a succession of public and private sector organizations before I retired in late 2009.
My retirement has enabled me to revisit old interests and spend a good chunk of my time doing what I like to do better than almost anything else–reading and writing about politics. I set out to write a book about Noam Chomsky because Chomsky was a natural vehicle for my return to a more active intellectual life: it happens that the main themes Chomsky has dealt with overlap with big issues that I have always wanted to understand better, notably, American foreign policy in the Cold War and its impact on the rest of the world; the structure of power in American politics, and the role of the mass media and of intellectuals in shaping public perceptions of the political world. My blog is another vehicle for exploring those concerns among others.