The Making of American Buddhism ships today! It is a thing that exists in the real world (whatever the “real” world may be). If you pre-ordered a copy, it might very well be on a truck heading to your home right now!
The book is expensive — relatively speaking. Honestly, I’m rather surprised/happy that OUP priced the book at just under $30 which is not particularly more expensive that a lot of mass market books out there. But I know a couple of things are true: (1) no one will read this book unless we collectively do our part to let the world know it exists because most of OUP’s marketing plan is aimed squarely at university libraries and academic journals; (2) if there’s enough “interest” in this book (i.e., if enough people/libraries buy it) they may release a cheaper paperback version; and, fuck it, (3) I want people to read it. So here’s how you can help to make the above three things happen.
- Request a copy for your library. If you’re an academic/work for a college or university, I’m guessing you already know how to request books for your library. But even if you’re not an academic, head on down to your local public library and ask them to buy a copy. I have no idea if they’ll say yes or not, but it’s worth a try and, seriously, when’s the last time you went to your local public library? They miss you.
- Tell your colleagues about the book. Do you have an academic friend who works on race, religion, American culture, World War II, Japanese American internment during WWII, the post-war occupation of Japan, the Cold War, the Beat generation, American Buddhism, Asian American studies, Buddhist studies? Tell them about this book because I have interesting things to say about all of the above and more.
- Review the book for any publication, academic or otherwise. If you already have a connection to an academic journal or are the editor of an academic journal, you can request a copy of the book from OUP here. If you write for a Buddhist magazine or blog or local newspaper or just write a newsletter for your friends or literally anything, I will do what I can to help you get a copy of the book so you can review it!
- Not an academic or someone who gets paid to write reviews of things? Review it anyway! Specifically on Goodreads or Amazon. I don’t recommend buying it from Amazon (unless that’s your thing, no judgment); but reviews help boost the visibility of the book. So even a short review, even a review that’s not “hey this is the best thing since sliced bread,” is helpful.
- Oh, yeah. Buy the book! If you’ve got the means, get a copy. I recommend ordering directly from the press because right now they have the best price and/or are less morally ambiguous than Amazon. But feel free to order it from your local independent bookstore or Bookshop.org.
- Invite me to talk to your college class, your graduate seminar, your local church or temple or sangha, your reading group or book club, your sewing circle or drum circle, your witch’s coven or secret cabal! I’m happy to zoom to you if the timezones make that practical and possible. I love informal classroom discussions and am happy to give less densely academic summaries of the book to anyone interested!
- Invite me on to your podcast or radio show or whatever random and tiny little media empire you control! Again, if your show is about American religion, Buddhism, academia, race and religion, WWWII, the Beat Generation, or even Star Trek, I will come on your show and do my best to be entertaining!
So. Here’s the book! It exists! I humbly ask you to help me in making people aware that it exists! And in all sincerity, my real and humble hope is that people engage with the ideas in the book. Regardless of whether or not you love it or hate it, I hope people read it, and that it inspires people to think about the ideas in the book and talk about the history of American Buddhism.
So. Thanks, y’all. You’re looking fabulous today, by the way.