Are Books Still Important?


Is there one of us who has not been influenced by books? Books change lives and books change society. The novels of Charles Dickens and American novelist Jack London gave cause for reflection and led to great change in society. The Holy Bible, Alfred Rosenberg’s Myth of the 20th Century, Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf are a few of the books that changed and shaped the world. It is difficult to think of a single human achievement that has not found its basis in books.

Inspired by R M Ballantyne’s Coral Island and the novels by Robert Lewis Stephenson, I was self-propelled into the British Merchant Navy. I am sure each of you can relate with your own stories. Books educate and inspire; they help us to become better (or worse) human beings. Books are a mirror reflection of what we are. Show me a person’s bookcase and I know as much as I need to know about that person.

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Books are at their most potent when used to manipulate minds. The much embellished and largely fraudulent Diary of Ann Frank has been published in over 60 languages. This novel, purporting to be a diary, has made millions for palace publishers and made millions sob. Much the same can be said of Hans Christian Andersen’s fanciful tales.

Few authors write for a living. If they make money then this is a bonus, but unlikely to be their motivation. With few exceptions books are written for reasons other than financial. In my case I accept that this side of the tomb I will never make more than a pittance from my dozen published poetry collections. People love poetry but not enough to put their hands in their pockets to purchase poetry books.

My Reich related books bring a modest income that will hopefully accumulate. However, there was only one motivation in my putting pen to paper. Having been enlightened by the writings of others I felt the need to pick up the beacon of truth, to keep running with it, and in doing so inspire others.

When I began writing in the 1970s, conventional publishers were unapproachable, self-publishing too expensive and financial returns speculative. However, for reasons I cannot fathom, I kept writing without realistic hope that my books would be published. However, the onset of the internet, self-publishing thanks to Amazon, and print-on-demand (POD) changed everything.

My first book, For Those Who Cannot Speak was published by Historical Review Press, Brighton, circa 1978. This was followed by several others and HRP made money. The Holy Grail, Eureka or Hallelujah! Whatever floats your boat; I was to scratch the pad for another 35-year before I saw my first royalties. These are approximately 10% of the cover price. My reason for writing is however unchanged. I wish only to enlighten and hopefully inspire. In this way I can give something back to those who gave me so much.

This article originally appeared 17th January, 2016

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