From Capitol Hill to Kampala: C Street, the Book

Newcomers to KtB don’t know me, but I’ve been here since Peter Manseau proposed a webmagazine named Killing the Buddha in 2000. I didn’t know what that meant, or what it would be about, but I immediately agreed. When you find a good title, leap.

That’s what I did last summer, after a series of political sex scandals propelled my 2008 book The Family onto the bestseller lists. The scandals took place in a posh Capitol Hill townhouse maintained by the Family — the oldest and arguably most influential Christian conservative organization in Washington — for congressmen looking for a break on rent or spiritual counsel, or both. Since the townhouse is on C Street, it’s cleverly called C Street. And since there was really only a page or two in The Family dedicated to C Street, I cleverly grabbed the name — now synonymous with corruption — for my next book, written in deep seclusion during the past year. C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy arrives in bookstores on September 27.

And I’ll be on NPR’s “Fresh Air” to discuss it with Terry Gross today, August 25th. You can find local air times here. Also scheduled for the program is Eliza Griswold, whose fascinating new book, The Tenth Parallel: Dispatches from the Fault Line between Christianity and Islam, I’ve just started reading. It’s a nice pairing, since that fault line runs through Africa, and for my part I’ll be talking about a chapter in C Street on Uganda and its so-called “kill-the-gays bill,” which is excerpted as “Straight Man’s Burden” in the September issue of Harper’s magazine, on newsstands now. It’s sub only at the Harper’s site, but NPR will have all or part of the story up tomorrow. If you’re really interested, you can read an additional piece on the subject I wrote for the September issue of The Advocate, “Dangerous Liaisons.” Come September, I’ll have some original material for my first love, KtB.

My publisher, Little, Brown, has set up a Facebook page for the book on which I and the Little, Brown folks will be publishing news, including updates on the stories dealt with in the book. Please befriend this lonely page here.

Better yet, befriend me. I’m easy. Just have a beer with me. But to do that, you’ll have to come to a C Street event — or, better yet, book one. Contact Carolyn O’Keefe at carolyn dot okeefe at hbgusa dot com, and cc me at jeff dot sharlet at gmail dot com.

Here’s the itinerary up to late October:

September 21 — Austin, TX. Blandy Lecture at the Seminary of the Southwest.

September 23 — Gettysburg, PA. Gettysburg College.

September 27 — Washington, DC. National Press Club

September 28 — Washington, DC. Georgetown University Bookstore.

September 28 — Washington, DC. Politics & Prose Bookstore.

September 29 — New York City. The Strand.

September 29 — Brooklyn. The Powerhouse Arena.

September 30 — Madison, CT. RJ Julia Booksellers.

October 7 — Hanover, NH. Dartmouth College, with poet Cleopatra Mathis.

October 12 — San Francisco, CA. The Green Arcade Bookstore.

October 13 — Lafayette, CA. The Commonwealth Club.

October 15 — Salt Lake City, Utah. The Ex-Mormon Foundation.

October 22 — Charlottesville, VA. University of Virginia Miller Center for Public Affairs.

Jeff Sharlet is a founding editor of Killing the Buddha, coauthor with Peter Manseau of Killing the Buddha: A Heretic's Bible (2004) and co-editor of Believer, Beware (2009). Sharlet is also the author of Sweet Heaven When I Die, (2011), C Street, (2010), and the New York Times bestseller The Family (2008).