Here’s an excellent review of Liberty and Tyranny in the American Spectator. (H/T Ensign Taiga)
It’s the book that changed America.
And it isn’t often that a book — any book, even a popular, bestselling book like Mark Levin’s Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto — can be said to have changed the course of American politics and history. The phenomenon is rare, extremely rare, usually taking both the country and even the author by surprise.
Yet Levin’s book has done just that, saluted by Minnesota Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann in an exclusive talk with The American Spectator as “providing [the] intellectual balance and foundation” of the Tea Party movement. A movement that stands triumphant this week in the wake of the conservative landslide that Levin himself believes can revitalize the conservative cause that Ronald Reagan once led to the White House.
The results of the 2010 revolt against the Obama Era are staggering. The success of the Tea Party; the defeat of over 60 of Nancy Pelosi’s House Democrats; the election of a half dozen U.S. senators, ten governors and almost 700 state legislators. What startles even more is that one campaign after another focused on the issues Levin featured in his book — the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, statism, the dangers of a powerful central government.
Campaigns “motivated and inspired” specifically, says Bachmann, by Levin’s Liberty and Tyranny.
[…]Liberty and Tyranny‘s red, white, and blue flag-and-flame cover bearing Levin’s bearded visage was waved aloft at Tea Party rallies. Bachmann marvels that “it’s difficult to educate a nation” but says Tea Partiers made a point to “take copies of the book to town hall meetings” to grill House and Senate members on their knowledge of the Constitution they had taken an oath to obey. The book’s cover itself appeared in poster form. One memorable photo captured former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin at a rally seated next to a soldier, the Levin book clearly visible in her lap. While the Palin photo was both real and un-staged, there was the inevitable humorous photo shopping. North Korea’s Communist dictator Kim Jong Il — aka “The Great Leader” — was pictured brandishing a copy of the book written by the man his friends and fans call “The Great One.” Another Liberty and Tyranny fan went to work mocking Obama’s famous 2008 campaign poster, replacing Obama’s image with an iconic rendering of Levin, the caption changed from “Hope and Change” to read simply: “The Great One.”
Why do people trust Levin so much?
LEVIN IS, FAMOUSLY, a considerable talk radio star, ranked number four in the nation with eight and a half million listeners. He is as well the longtime head of the conservative Landmark Legal Foundation. A former Reagan aide, Justice Department lawyer (serving as chief of staff to Reagan attorney general Edwin Meese III, among other positions in the government) and conservative activist who began his march on liberalism as a precocious 13-year old, Levin is no recent entry into discussions of law, politics, or conservative principles. His friend Rush Limbaugh calls him “F. Lee Levin” in humorous reference to the great trial lawyer, but the humor alludes to Levin’s significant legal abilities that doubtless played a role in his ability to write a book that has stirred such consequence.
Skipping 12th grade to move on to Temple University, Levin graduated — at 19 — Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude, with membership in the university’s political science and history honor societies. By 22 he was already a lawyer, having graduated from Temple Law School — finding time along the way to get elected at 19 to his local suburban school board, making him the youngest elected school board member in the history of the state.
Says Bachmann simply: “Mark Levin is an intellectual powerhouse.”
How popular was the the book and what caused people to buy it?
Clearly, as with Paine, Stowe and Goldwater before him, Levin had struck a very American nerve. While the book manifested all the usual best seller symptoms (it was #1 on the New York Times list for three months, #1 on Amazon for all books for several months as well as #2 for all of 2009 on the Amazon hardcover non-fiction list etc.), there was obviously something else going on.
A very, very big something else.
IT’S REASONABLE TO ASK after all of this — why all the fuss over a book that defends the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence? What is it that drives over 1.2 million books to sell like glasses of cold lemonade in the Sahara Desert? What kind of book gets over 2,000 reviews on Amazon, the book rated with five stars by all but a handful of readers? What kind of book sends Americans into the streets waving copies as if they’d uncovered the Holy Grail?
Congresswoman Bachmann thinks she knows the answer. The book, she says simply, was a “gift to our nation.”
In a manner that Levin could not possibly have foreseen, his arguments defending individual freedoms and liberty from what Alexis de Tocqueville called “soft tyranny” — the supremacy of the state suddenly took on a vivid, personal meaning for Americans. As the new Obama administration and its allies on Capitol Hill began rapidly expanding the size and scope of the federal government almost exponentially, jamming a government takeover of health care through a Congress besieged by constituents shouting — sometimes literally — not to do this, millions of Americans were provoked from stunned amazement to outrage. On top of a staggering so-called stimulus plan that cost almost $1 trillion plus government takeovers and bailouts of everything from car companies to financial institutions, the realization dawned on many Americans that Levin was right: the long march of collectivism had suddenly turned into a sprint.
Here’s a video showing how popular the book was:
Really highly recommended, along with the Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism by Robert Murphy and Basic Economics by Thomas Sowell.