Charles Reich's Journey from the Yale Law Journal to the New York Times Best-Seller List: The Personal History of the Greening of America

31 Pages Posted: 27 Oct 2013 Last revised: 1 Nov 2013

See all articles by Rodger D. Citron

Rodger D. Citron

Touro College - Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center

Date Written: 2008

Abstract

Let's return to 1970, when there were only three major network television stations and no cable programming; no Internet and therefore no online publications -- subscribers literally picked up and read their newspapers. In such relatively barren soil, the notion of a law professor who became famous exclusively for the book he wrote seems preposterous. Nevertheless, near the end of that year, Charles Reich, a respected Yale Law School professor, published The Greening of America (“The Greening”) -- first as a long article in the New Yorker then, in an expanded version, as a Random House book. To the surprise of everyone involved and despite mixed reviews, The Greening became a runaway best-seller and Reich became -- reluctantly -- a celebrity.

The story of the rise and fall of Reich and The Greening is, in part, a cautionary tale about the promise and perils of becoming a successful popular writer. The first three parts of this article recount the story of Reich and The Greening. In Part II, I set the stage with a brief summary of Reich's accomplished -- and conventional -- career and publications up to The Greening. In Part III, I tell the story of The Greening. In Part IV, I examine the backlash to The Greening, as evidenced by the negative reviews of The Sorcerer. In the Conclusion, I note that The Greening is still discussed today in the occasional -- usually derisive -- references to the book in popular writing. I conclude the article with a brief discussion of Reich's work after The Sorcerer and his thoughts on the perils and promise of his brush with popular success with The Greening.

Keywords: Charles Reich, The Greening of America, The Greening, Greening of America, Consciousness III, The Con III controversy, Citron, Rodger Citron

Suggested Citation

Citron, Rodger D., Charles Reich's Journey from the Yale Law Journal to the New York Times Best-Seller List: The Personal History of the Greening of America (2008). 52 N.Y.L. Sch. L. Rev. 387 (2008), Touro Law Center Legal Studies Research Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2341193

Rodger D. Citron (Contact Author)

Touro College - Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center ( email )

225 Eastview Drive
Central Islip, NY 11722
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
33
Abstract Views
773
PlumX Metrics