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.