Exclusive Interview with former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich about his latest novel "Duplicity"
The following author interview is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our author interviews and book reviews by clicking on the Books category on the right side bar.
Duplicity, the newest novel by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and Pete Earley, has a highly plausible plot that mixes domestic and global action. Readers will be reminded of the Benghazi-style attack on the US embassy along with political deception, radical Islamic terrorists, and ruthless DC staffers who scheme to manipulate the electorate during the Presidential election. Blackfive.net interviewed the former Speaker about how his book mirrors today’s events.
Elise Cooper: How did you get the idea for the story?
Newt Gingrich: This worldwide phenomenon is much more purposeful and technologically advanced than we give it credit for. One of the key terrorists in our novel is an American who has rejected Western civilization in favor of the radical Islamist effort to impose an alternative system of belief by force and terror tactics. One of the reasons I agreed to do contemporary modern history is to show the gap between the elite denial of reality and what is happening in the worldwide war with Islamic supremacists. I used the genre of a novel because it is the most effective way to tell a story.
EC: Why Somalia?
NG: We could have done it in Yemen, Libya, or other places. We chose Somalia because there are 125,000 Somalis in Minnesota, an on going problem with Al-Shabah in that country, and it just seemed like the place for a perfect storm. Go to the Australian Foreign Ministry website and you will see they post that people should not go there because it is too dangerous. The focus of the terrorist group is on Westerners. There is a wonderful sense that this place is the Wild, Wild West.
EC: Did you want to contrast Somalis who have assimilated and those who have gone to the dark side?
NG: The number of Somalis in Minnesota who have gone to ISIS is about twenty. 80 to 90% of Minnesota Somalis have become true Americans. There are millions of American Muslims who embrace our values, are deeply patriotic, and loyal. One character in Duplicity is a Somali American who is running for Congress in Minneapolis while his brother is the No. 2 leader in Al Shabaab in Mogadishu. The tension between the two is like a civil war in a single family. We must be aware, as Paris and California reminds us, it does not take a large number of terrorists to cause a great amount of danger.
EC: You write how incidents can manipulate elections. What did you want to get across?
NG: How politicians are at their most difficult position sixty days before an election. In an election there is enormous pressure to survive because if you do not you die figuratively. The immediacy of the election puts enormous pressure on whoever is in the White House. As with the 2012 election there is the effort to try to break down an administration’s mythology that everything is working.
EC: Your character running against the president is Governor Timothy Coolidge, who is an isolationist. Did you mirror him on the former President Calvin Coolidge?
NG: No. I admire Calvin Coolidge since I consider him one of the most interesting guys in American history. In the 1920s isolationism did not mean the same thing as today. During that period Republicans were very engaged in foreign diplomacy. For example, they were involved in the German financial problem, in Latin America, and had US Marines in Nicaragua. They did not believe in entangling alliances because they did not trust anyone. Just because they were opposed to the League of Nations the Left summarized them as isolationists.
EC: Gunter Conner, the CIA Station Chief in Somalia, represents someone who warns Americans not to be complacent with the Islamic terrorists. Agreed?
NG: Yes. Throughout history there has been the existence of people willing to do evil to impose their values whether Adolf Hitler or ISIS. These people have to be stopped and cannot be talked with. Neville Chamberlain was not a traitor in appeasing Hitler, he was just wrong. I have written about the premise that some think the world is dangerous yet it is better to survive the danger than eliminate it. This it the attitude with gun free zones, which by definition is irrational. It says to the evil why come here we are defenseless. Yet, it ignores that in a world of evil, there is no way to block it just by putting up a yard sign.
EC: What do you want the readers to get out of Duplicity?
NG: The world is genuinely dangerous. This danger is coming here and we need to hold our public officials accountable. Just as in the book, world events will have an impact on the 2016 Presidential election in a way we cannot anticipate right now.
EC: Can you give a heads up about the next book?
NG: It will be called Treason. It is about what could happen in the US if there are very senior people who are secretly loyal to the Islamic supremacists. It is based on the book by Diana West, American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character that accounts the massive Moscow-directed penetration of American society. West shows that the system of spies designed to denigrate the American way of life was deep and extensive during the 1940s. My book has a similar premise brought up to date: why couldn’t there be someone in support of radical Islam that is able to keep it secret as they rise in power. It will also have terrorism coming to the US.