In response to some of your inquiries, let me say here a little of what I say in the foreword to the new book, in the hope this will clear up some confusion. As you’ll read quite clearly there, I do not believe the “Buchanan File,” as the publisher is calling it, could possibly be legitimate. Indeed I am completely sure it is a fiction. So all the effort I have put in to providing a reasonably clear historical context for the book’s narrative should in no way be seen as an effort to authenticate that narrative, but rather, simply, to make the reader aware that the author of this obviously untrue narrative has nevertheless for some reason woven into it real, and significant, historical episodes.

Looking at that first paragraph I think maybe I’m presuming too much; that happens when you’ve been working on something for a long time. Let me back up. My publisher, Thomas LeBien, wanted me to write a foreword to this book, establishing the historical authenticity of the narrative inside, and explaining that it derived from a cache of papers that were offered briefly for auction back in the 1960s and then withdrawn, only to resurface last year in the possession of a collector, Mr. Samuel O. Lerner of Manhasset, Long Island, who claimed he had forgotten owning them at all, but now wanted them to see publication. Because the events described therein overlapped approximately with events I described in this post, which Mr. Lerner had read, he wanted me to write a framing narrative and supply some historical context for publication. What he did not mention, and what Thomas might also have had the goodness to mention, is that the events in the narrative were also touched on by this post–which is to say, the narrative purported to be a first-person account by Tom Buchanan of his involvement in the American intervention in Nicaragua.

Now, there was a certain amount of sense in this; if he wanted to continue living the good life, Buchanan had to protect his family fortune, and his wealthy relations had, for reasons not entirely owing to good business sense, invested a considerable chunk of that fortune in Nicaraguan development. And if he had done so, he might well want to craft a narrative that would give his sense of the 1920s, and talk frankly about what it takes to keep up the American dream, over which we’ve spilled so much ink. So it wasn’t completely implausible–if not, of course, for the fact that Tom Buchanan is a fictional character, and fictional characters do not leave papers. So I told Thomas I would be happy to write a foreword saying more or less this, and that I would also provide an afterword with some historical notes, but that I would under no circumstances be party to a claim that this in any way represented a true historical narrative.

So now you have some little idea of my involvement with the book. I’d be happy of course to answer further questions if you have them.1


1But please stop asking for an “Aquaman” picture with the book. You know who you are.