Bookstore hosts ’70s book launch for local historian

Herald Intern

The Seminary Co-op Bookstore, 5751 S. Woodlawn Ave., will celebrate the release of historian Rick Perlstein’s new book, “The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan,” Tuesday, Aug. 12 at 6 p.m.

The timeframe discussed in the book – the 1970s – will serve as the book launch’s theme.

“I had the idea of a ’70s-themed party,” Perlstein said. “We’re having a ’70s DJ, hopefully we’ll do some dancing. I just loved the idea of having a dance party in a bookstore.”

The launch will include catering from Plein Air Cafe, in the Seminary Co-op Bookstore, and music courtesy of Chicago-based DJ Dion Steele.

“It’s not going to be a typical event. It’s just basically a party, just to celebrate that his book got released,” said Rui Carlos da Cunha, events coordinator at the bookstore. “Each event can vary so much, so I am really flexible about what happens at the store for the event.”

“The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan” is the third in Perlstein’s series of four books about the history of the modern conservative movement, following “Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus” in 2001 and “Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America” in 2008.

“I was really interested in in understanding, as a liberal, how the right had become so dominant in American politics,” Perlstein explained.

Perlstein said he wrote most of his book during his time in Hyde Park – at Cafe 53, 1369 E. 53rd St., and the former Third World Cafe, 1301 E. 53rd St., which closed in 2012.

A University of Chicago graduate, Perlstein returned to Hyde Park in 2002, where he lived until moving to Ravenswood this year. Perlstein said he has maintained a relationship with the bookstore for at least 10 years, in part by bringing in local authors and activists through his two interview series, Rixonland and Rickipedia.

“He’s one of our best,” Carlos da Cunha said. “He brings events to us. So we want to honor one of our local authors who does a great job and who works with us all the time.”