Meet the Editor: Chuck Myers, Executive Editor

October 15th, 2017

Chuck Myers, Senior Editor
Subjects: Political science; law and society
Series: Chicao Series in Law and SocietyChicago Studies in American Politics

Tell us about a book you discovered at a formative age that helped develop your sensibility.

Boris Pasternak’s Dr. Zhivago, when I was a teenager, first the film, then the book helped shape my taste in books.  This led me to the Russians, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Turgenev, and Pushkin, books one reads over and over during a lifetime.  You can grow old with them and, if you are lucky, uncover new treasures with each reading. 

Tell us about a book you find yourself rereading, reconsidering, or otherwise haunted by.

As a social scientist, I read and admire the essays of Albert Hirschman.  At his best he had a great ability to cut through political and academic nonsense and give you a new perspective on aspect of society in very few words. I am haunted by David Halberstam’s The Best and the Brightest.  Maybe it is the Ken Burn’s film on Vietnam or the follies of our leaders on all sides, but I think this should be required reading of anyone who is going to exercise power anywhere.

Tell us about a book you admire that we wouldn’t expect to find in your library.

I grew up in Pittsburgh.  I have a collection of books on Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania including history, literature, poetry, biography, and travel books.  As someone who has moved around a great deal, with all the rich experiences that offers, I sometimes wonder where my roots are.  They are in Western Pennsylvania, where my family settled in the 18th century, doing everything from farming, to distilling (heard of the Whisky Rebellion?), to college teaching.  These are books I come back to when I need a little grounding.  

What book from your list is a well-kept secret that deserves a larger readership?

As a newcomer to the University of Chicago Press I can’t pick one title.  Instead I am exploring the many wonderful books Chicago has published on a range of topics.  I am in awe of the rich lists in politics and law my predecessor, John Tryneski, created over his decades at the press. 

What was the last book you discovered at the Seminary Co-op or 57th Street Books?

I guess for obvious reasons, I have been reading a lot of James Baldwin and got a sense of the richness and variety of his work, particularly his essays, by looking over the many titles they carry there.  What living near the Coop has done is break me of the Amazon habit and return me to the practice of buying or ordering books at my local bookstore.

What author, living or dead, would you like to dress up as for Halloween?

Other than what I wear every day, I’m not good at costumes. If I did, I’d dress up as one of the great 19th century Russian writers.  To do that I would need to consume a great deal of vodka, but wouldn’t that be fun? 

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