[Editor’s note: This interview ran in American Thinker on November 14, 2009]
My guest today is David Horowitz, the publisher and editor-in-chief of Frontpagemag.com. He is the best-selling author of many books, including an autobiography, Radical Son, and a memoir, The End of Time. He was a founder of the New Left movement of the 1960s and is now a conservative. His new book is A Cracking of the Heart, which is about his daughter Sarah, who died at the age of 44 almost two years ago. It is the story of a parent’s grief and discovery, one which the author hopes will be a solace to all those who have lost or who will lose loved ones along the way – and an admonition to appreciate them while they are here. Because Mr. Horowitz’s daughter Sarah’s view were more liberal than his, his account of their relationship is also a story of estrangement and reconciliation to which other parents can relate.
Glazov: David, thank you for joining me.
I have just finished A Cracking of the Heart. It is incredibly touching and really pierces one’s heart.
Let’s begin by you telling us how you feel about this book, which is very different from most of your other writings.
Horowitz: This book is really a gift to me from my daughter, because it allows me to show a side of myself that, apart from the two books you mention, is not usually apparent. I am hoping that this book will reach a larger audience because it touches on the universal themes that underlie our political differences. My daughter was a liberal who had a profound understanding of the limits of our ability to “change the world,” and this insight was the basis of the political bond we were able to form despite our differences.
Glazov: Tell us in what ways Sarah was a remarkable human being.
Horowitz: Well, she faced physical barriers that would have daunted and depressed most of us, and that eventually killed her. But she not only soldiered on, but did so with an attitude that was hopeful and generous and compassionate and truly inspiring. She could not drive and had a very poor sense of direction, but she traveled across town to feed the homeless. She was a vegetarian, but schooled herself in how to cook meat because that was what the homeless people wanted, and she felt she was there to serve them. Though she, with tremendous handicaps, without complaint, and without making herself a burden on others, she still showed compassion for people who were unable to do the same.
Glazov: How did your paths diverge with Sarah? At what intersections did you find one another?
Horowitz: As I write in the book, my break with the left over the murder of Betty Van Patter and the bloodbath at the end of the Vietnam War sent me into a personal tailspin which separated me from my family and left ongoing issues between me and my children. The title of the book – A Cracking of the Heart – refers to the process of atonement associated with the holiest days in the Jewish calendar, and to a moment when my bitterness and grief spilled over into my relationship with my daughter. My guilt from that encounter led to a turning in my life with my daughter from which I think all parents can learn.
Glazov: In an interview Sarah gave the day before she unexpectedly died, she said that after losing a loved one, “pay attention to the ways in which your relationship continues.”
In what ways has your relationship continued?
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