Home/Rod Dreher/‘Live Not By Lies’: America’s No. 1 Book

‘Live Not By Lies’: America’s No. 1 Book

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who first told us to live not by lies. (Photo by Steve Liss/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images)

I couldn’t believe it when I saw it this morning, but it’s true:

Though some might conclude the lesson here is, “If Uncle Chuckie be for me, who can be against me?”, in fact I think it has a lot to do with the power of Tucker Carlson, who had me on his show last night. I’ve cued the broadcast to the point where my fathead self appears:

If you’re new to this blog, click here for a basic rundown of the ideas in Live Not By Lies.

This morning, with tears in my eyes, I am thinking of all those good men and women of the Eastern bloc, and of Russia, who told me their stories — who told me what they suffered under communism, and how they came through. I am thinking in particular of Frantisek Miklosko in Bratislava, recalling standing next to Bishop Korec, the underground Catholic prelate of his country, as two secret police agents tried to arrest him off the street, but the bishop fought them back. Frantisek saw it happen. I’m thinking about Maria Wittner, now an old lady who lives outside of Budapest, taking up a gun to fight the invading Soviets in 1956, and, on death row, telling me the story of saying goodbye to her cellmate as the young woman was taken to her execution (Wittner survived). I think of Kamila Bendova looking up at me in her Prague apartment, explaining to me why, in the depths of communist persecution, she read Tolkien to her children (“Because we knew that Mordor was real.”) I’m thinking of Alexander Ogorodnikov, tears running down his face, partially paralyzed from prison beatings, as we spoke in a Moscow hotel, and he told me about the miracles he experienced as a prisoner of conscience in some of the roughest Soviet prisons.

There are so many more. They trusted me with their stories, and now I tell them to you in Live Not By Lies. It’s not just a book of interesting stories. All these accounts are there to awaken us Americans to what is happening around us today, and how we should prepare ourselves for it, spiritually and otherwise. This is an aspect of our world’s recent history that has largely been erased. I hope and pray that this book will do something good to make people pay attention again.

And I hope this book will lead people to read Solzhenitsyn, Miłosz, Havel, and all the writers and artists who endured communism, and told the truth. Here is a link to Solzhenitsyn’s 1974 “Live Not By Lies” essay, from which my book gets its title.

If you would like to order my own Live Not By Lies, this link will take you to a page from which you can choose your retailer. As always, Eighth Day Books, an independent bookstore in Wichita, is exclusively handling mail orders of signed copies; order here.


UPDATE: For those who have bought the book, download a free Study Guide here, with questions for group consideration.

Also, I have a couple of book-related live web events this week. Tomorrow (Wednesday), J.D. Vance and I talk about the book. It’s free, but you have to register here. 


On Friday, you can listen to the author of America’s No. 1 book talk to Britain’s No. 1 Briton, Freddy Gray, by signing up here.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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