Louis Menand on 'the Free World'
And joins us now from cambridge massachusetts. He is the author of the metaphysical club and his newest book is called the free world art and thought in the cold war luke. Thanks for being here. Thank you for having me so you are actually in the widener library at harvard university as we speak. That's correct. yes. I'm in the office in the stacks in which i wrote the entire book and i don't think i could have written a book if i hadn't had access to these incredible library resources at harvard. How long did you spend researching the book. Do you tend to do all of your research and then begin writing or do you do both as you go along. I spent about ten years on the book. And i do research for each chapter and i write that chapter and then move onto the next chapter. So he's chapter took a long time to do. Because i wanted to do a fair amount of research to get a feel for the period a feel for what other written about it so you had this all outlined then presumably before you began writing. No the only thing i had outlined was i knew where i wanted to begin which is nineteen forty five at the end of the second world war and i knew the finish line was nineteen sixty five which is the year. The united states intervened militarily in south vietnam. So those were sort of bookends of the book. And then i kinda followed my nose through the period just sort of see where it was going at a certain point as you approach your the horizon that you set for yourself. Nineteen sixty five. You begin to see something happening that you want to capture. So i didn't start out with a thesis exactly. I just wanted to tell the story as it unfolded historically and then. I discovered the doing that. What what the trend lines were that. I tried to sort of hit on those as i was going through it. But he's chapter is sort of a separate book in a takes up at different subject to differ figure different movement and tries to sort of you know capsule it with. That's all about new moves onto another