R. Alan Lewis
President, Ground Zero Books, Ltd.
Happy New Year! Welcome 2017. Hurray for the Power of Ten—Huh?!
Well, if you add two, and one, and seven, with or without adding the zero, you get the result of TEN. That is powerful mathematical reasoning, hence it reflects the power in TEN and thus the power of TEN.
Now, did that not take your mind off a lot of other ideas and feelings about entering this new year? This introduction is neither partisan nor political, neither historical nor hysterical, but could be considered a paean to equality, since several diverse units came together into one number.
No number was left out, and the zero was free to come or go into the equation without coercion. That enough of math for the remainder of this column, as we are sure you can figure out what you want, where you are going, and what interests you. We hope that as in the past, you will find much of interest in our offered items. Every month we tell you that more has been added than has been sold. Actually, the incoming and the outgoing in December were about equal—thanks to your extraordinary interest in our wares in essentially all topical areas.
The last quarter of 2016 (this is a temporal reference and does not involve math or monetary policy) emphasized politics more heavily that war or peace—not just in terms of the U.S. presidential election but also in terms of BREXIT, European elections, and issues of nationalism vice multinationalism or internationalism. Among your interests have been Progressivism, Nativism, Isolationism, and Regional Integration (economic and otherwise), and forces for dis-integration.
Much of the literature has been in the form of pamphlets, journal articles, and a few monographs and other books. We often look to the past to understand the present and to anticipate (as best we can) the future.
In the U.S. 2016 Presidential election, candidate Trump used the phrases “America First,” and “Peace Through Strength.” As we all know so well from our civics lessons in grade school,The America First Committee was the foremost non-interventionist pressure group against the American entry into World War II. Peaking at 800,000 paid members in 450 chapters, it was one of the largest anti-war organizations in American history. Started on September 4, 1940, it was dissolved on December 10, 1941, three days after the attack on Pearl Harbor had brought the war to America. President-elect, then candidate, Trump used “America First” in ways similar to its WWII-era forebear, seeking disengagement in some regional conflicts and rebalancing of burden-sharing in some relationships, and also in ways specific to the current era and its economic conditions.
The phrase and concept of “Peace Through Strength” date to ancient times. Roman Emperor Hadrian (AD 76-138) is said to have sought “peace through strength or, failing that, peace through threat.” Hadrian’s Wall was a symbol of this policy. That wall was not, like the Berlin Wall, designed to keep people in, but was designed to keep threats out. Same as The Great Wall of China. What was old can become new again.
Peace Through Strength (1952) is also the title of a book about a defense plan by Bernard Baruch, an adviser to Franklin D. Roosevelt. During the 1964 American Presidential campaign, the Republican party spent about $5 million on a “Peace through Strength” campaign. For supporters of the MX missile in the 1970s, the missile symbolized “peace through strength.”
When these phrases, and their underlying concepts, became regular talking points during the campaign, we were happy to be able to supply your needs in these, as well as other, areas.
As we enter 2017, we can share in Carly Simon’s “Anticipation,” but we cannot predict what you may want or become interested in. Therefore, we will continue to add to our stock across the whole spectrum of topics. We will offer signed, inscribed, and significant association copies for the connoisseur collector, ex-library copies for the student and institutional researcher, and a multitude of academic, small press, and significant trade editions in very good condition for those building and maintaining research and personal/professional collections. Unlike many of our bookseller colleagues, we will continue to invest cataloging time on pamphlets, ephemera, and individual issues of professional journals and significant periodicals. Our sales experiences tell us that you appreciate having access to such items.
We always appreciate your comments and suggestions, especially regarding topics for future columns. We actively solicit your want lists and search requests. We do not have the equivalent of David Letterman’s “Top Ten List,” but we recognize the power of ten. Therefore, as has been our practice, we will gladly grant a ten per cent discount upon request for any purchase made directly from us. We hope that you will take many opportunities in 2017 (and beyond) to make our power of ten, your power of TEN.
Happy 2017, and beyond!