This substack is dedicated to telling the story of America’s decades long march to Donald Trump. This procession precisely mirrors the story of my life and all those who were born in the numerical middle of the American Century.
We were the Children of Victory and somehow ended up with a ruined country. It is nothing less than a calamity. That’s why I call this substack History of a Calamity.
It’s a story you think you know but you don’t. There’s a reason for this. The main liberal institutions of society: the press, the universities, and publishing don’t want this history told. It would implicate them in America’s descent.
It works for these “liberal” institutions to regard Trump as an aberration, he isn’t. The transformation of the Republican Party into a radical faction that stands against democracy and the Constitution could not have happened without ALL the institutions of American society failing.
I’ve been lucky. I have been recording the history of my (our) calamity for BBC radio in documentaries and recorded essays since 1992. I know that the America of today is rooted in easily traceable events of half a century ago. I lived through them. My perspective is unique. I left America for Britain 35 years ago. You can see the pattern of contemporary history more clearly from across an ocean.
As a journalist I have written and recorded the first rough draft of history for more than 30 years. Half of those years were spent working for NPR and its affiliates. As an author I have written two books of history. The first was on a contemporary subject: the Iraq War, which I covered as an unembedded reporter. The second was on the creation of modern Jewry starting in the French Revolution and ending a century and a half later with the Nazi seizure of power in April 1933.
This substack will over time be the equivalent of a third book. The history of America’s calamity, from 1950 to today. Why am I doing it here? Because the process of getting a book commissioned has become so cumbersome and time consuming and so “illiberal” that I can no longer wait to be granted permission by a publisher to write it.
Twice a month, I will put out a chapter. I will also blog - short hits, longer posts - on current events. The blog posts are for everyone. Eventually the chapters will be for paid subscribers. But not just yet.
I hope you will subscribe to read this history from the ground up.