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Everybody Who's Nobody is Talking About "Battle"
Book sales may tell an interesting story
Dateline: July 18, in the Year of our Lord 2022
This past week, Battle for the American Mind surprised us all by hitting #1 for the 4th week in a row on the New York Times list. Now, the first two weeks were a surprise -- but Pete Hegseth's genuine knowledge and passion for the book came through on just about every program in conservative circles. However, media fades fast. What accounts for weeks 3 and 4 when Pete had backed off and did very few media appearances?
There are a few clues. We are in a period of weaker new nonfiction releases, though a book on Christian education has not even made the NYT list in recent memory. Amazon's sales numbers have backed off a bit -- “Battle” dropped down on their list. So, people weren't watching TV and ordering on their phone from the couch as they did in the first 2 weeks. A friend told me that the book was held up from the stage at a conference of Roman Catholics last week in Washington D.C. A pastor and evangelist in the Dallas area told me his wife just won't quit talking about the book -- thus neither does he. One person on the publicity team suggested that Costco and Walmart might account for the sales – hmm.
So, I have a theory.
Despite our efforts and the weight of a major publisher (Harper Collins), and despite its long-standing place on best-seller lists, NO ONE in the media has thus far reviewed it -- not at the Wall Street Journal, New York Post, or Washington Examiner. Not at Christianity Today, The Gospel Coalition, or even at World magazine. And certainly not at mainstream outlets. So far as I know, no major media outlet has independently reviewed the book as I write this. The "Somebodies" aren't buying it.
I think "Nobodies" are reading the book. Guys and gals that, well, are a lot like me. And like those of you who have been laboring in the classical Christian movement for decades. And like folks who shop at Costco, Walmart, and discount stores (Target has been sold out for a while). And like those of you who go to church, go to work faithfully, and love their families. And like grandparents I meet who have me sign the book to their adult children in hopes they will read it and get their grandchildren out of public schools.
While I fully expect “Battle” to start working its way down the iconic NYT list, I think we're encountering just what I would love to see. (I realize there is some irony in my use of the elite NYT list in this piece!) Regular folks are reading it. One of the biggest problems America has is that we all give too much weight to celebrities, to media elites, and to twitter. You would think “America” is all about the aristocracy of the urbanites who know how to throw a “well-attended” cocktail party near the beltway. Early on, our idea of a party was to throw tea into the harbor, and bristle against the very idea of aristocracy. Neither this country, nor the Kingdom of Christ, are upheld by the powerful, the elite, or the well connected. Jesus, after all, used 12 nobodies to change the world.
So what of my theory? Who knows what we’ll see in the coming weeks. But I do hope that our readers are why “Battle” is doing so well. I hope the Nobodies continue to wrangle through the Walmart self-checkout to get the book.
If you’re one of us nobodies, please tell other nobodies about this book, especially parents. Tweet on your Nobody account. Post on your Nobody facebook page. It’s time to echo, albeit with much less magnitude, the work of those Nobodies who spent 300 years taking over Rome, and bringing the light of Christian truth.
Soli Deo Gloria