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'American Demagogue': Ray Smock announces release of new book about Trump presidency

March 22, 2019
Tabitha Johnston - Chronicle Staff , Shepherdstown Chronicle

SHEPHERDSTOWN -- After self-publishing his first book of essays on the Trump campaign, "Trump Tsunami," Ray Smock sensed a sequel might be inevitable. And, as he continued to write down his opinions on the presidency of the United States, Smock soon realized he was writing the first book's sequel, "American Demagogue."

But despite the popularity of his writing, evidenced by a standing-room-only book signing event for "American Demagogue" at Four Seasons Books on Saturday afternoon, Smock said his professional experience complicated the books' writing process.

"When I was writing both of these books, I have been a historian for the Historian of the United States House of Representatives from 1983-1995, and the director of the Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education. My professional career has been in a nonpartisan environment," Smock said. "I guess I'm in a tradition of some writers, who have taken time to write about current events, as a first draft or second draft, not as a final edition."

Article Photos

Ray Smock discusses his newest book, 'American Demagogue,' during a book signing at Four Seasons Books on Saturday afternoon. Tabitha Johnston

As the 2016 election was approaching, Smock began journaling his thoughts about President Trump, and posting some of those essays on his Facebook page.

"This is the most unprecedented election in American history, and we're trying to figure out the long-term impact of this election on our future," Smock said.

Soon after starting to write down his thoughts related to current events, Smock decided to publish a selection of his essays through Amazon. Interested readers can buy the e-book copy of his books or buy a paper copy from Amazon or Four Seasons Books.

"I think you'll see how I've gone about this -- it's breaking news with historical analysis," Smock said, mentioning his essays also reflect his views on political issues and books.

Giving the audience a taste of his new book's content, Smock read a few excerpts.

"The first essay in 'American Demagogue' is 'Should Our Leaders be Sane?' We've never had to ask that question before," Smock said, before listing political candidates whose mental instability kept them out of office. "In the case of Trump, you've got ample evidence that he was unstable in public."

SHEPHERDSTOWN -- After self-publishing his first book of essays on the Trump campaign, "Trump Tsunami," Ray Smock sensed a sequel might be inevitable. And, as he continued to write down his opinions on the presidency of the United States, Smock soon realized he was writing the first book's sequel, "American Demagogue."

But despite the popularity of his writing, evidenced by a standing-room-only book signing event for "American Demagogue" at Four Seasons Books on Saturday afternoon, Smock said his professional experience complicated the books' writing process.

"When I was writing both of these books, I have been a historian for the Historian of the United States House of Representatives from 1983-1995, and the director of the Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education. My professional career has been in a nonpartisan environment," Smock said. "I guess I'm in a tradition of some writers, who have taken time to write about current events, as a first draft or second draft, not as a final edition."

As the 2016 election was approaching, Smock began journaling his thoughts about President Trump, and posting some of those essays on his Facebook page.

"This is the most unprecedented election in American history, and we're trying to figure out the long-term impact of this election on our future," Smock said.

Soon after starting to write down his thoughts related to current events, Smock decided to publish a selection of his essays through Amazon. Interested readers can buy the e-book copy of his books or buy a paper copy from Amazon or Four Seasons Books.

"I think you'll see how I've gone about this -- it's breaking news with historical analysis," Smock said, mentioning his essays also reflect his views on political issues and books.

Giving the audience a taste of his new book's content, Smock read a few excerpts.

"The first essay in 'American Demagogue' is 'Should Our Leaders be Sane?' We've never had to ask that question before," Smock said, before listing political candidates whose mental instability kept them out of office. "In the case of Trump, you've got ample evidence that he was unstable in public."

Despite his personal viewpoints, Smock did mention the American Psychiatric Association will only recognize someone has a mental illness if he or she has been professionally diagnosed. But regardless of whether or not President Trump is mentally unstable, his behavior, according to Smock, is similar to that of any other demagogue.

"The secret of a demagogue, is they always divide," Smock said. "In terms of history and qualifications, he is one of the dumbest presidents in United States history. But in terms of demagogues, he's one of the shrewdest demagogues in history. Demagoguery uses fear and hatred and other things as a form of entertainment. And yet, that is where we are, and what we have to face."

 
 
 

 

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