Great Neck resident Hal Sobel said he has submitted letters to the editor to Blank Slate Media since 2014.
Many of the letters published in the company’s six weekly newspapers, Sobel said, make up a large portion of his latest book, “The Dream Shall Never Die: Essays on the Political Landscape.”
He said he began submitting to Blank Slate Media’s “Reader’s Write” section in 2014 to respond to another letter writer, which he described as a “running feud” between the two because of their differing political opinions.
“I took him on over a period of weeks, if not months, so that was one incentive,” Sobel said. “Also, I guess I really thought I had something to say of importance.”
Sobel, who was born in Brooklyn in 1933, said he went on to graduate from the University of Rochester with a degree in political science in 1954.
In 1959, Sobel said, he received his Masters degree from City College of New York, and later in 1972 received his doctorate from Teachers College at Columbia University.
He said he taught for nine years at the New Lincoln School, a private school in New York City, before moving on teach at Queens College for 46 years.
Sobel, a Great Neck resident for the past 15 years, said politics has been a “lifelong interest” of his and described himself as a “political junkie.”
After retiring from teaching at Queens College, he said he found himself with a lot of time to focus on writing “these lengthy letters to the editor.”
Sobel said it was “very important” that Blank Slate Media Publisher Steven Blank gives readers of his publications a platform to express their opinions.
“Steven is very good with publishing letters,” he said. “If you write a letter it’s going to make an appearance in the column.”
“It’s great that everybody has an opportunity to express themselves through his six newspapers,” Sobel added.
He said about 50 letters to the editor that he has submitted to Blank Slate Media were published in “The Dream Shall Never Die.”
Some of the letters had to be revised to reflect events that occurred after they were published, such as the election of Donald Trump as United States President.
Rather than write the whole book from scratch, Sobel said, he realized he had “tremendous research” he compiled while writing his letters and thought to use those.
“I had this tremendous backlog going back to 2014 of letters to the editor that I could draw upon,” he said. “It wasn’t like I sat down and said ‘I’m going to write this 150-page book.’ Fortunately, I had this stuff which made it easier.”
Aside from putting all of his political writings into one place, Sobel said another reason he wanted to publish his book was to “leave a legacy” for his grandchildren.
He said it took between three and four months to get “The Dream Shall Never Die” published.
Sobel commended Scott Krause, publisher at Mountain Air Books, which published his book, for his efforts in putting the book together and allowing him to have a creative say in how it would look.
“I’m something of a control freak so I wanted to have input into the cover, the pictures, the font size and all of that stuff,” he said. “He was very cooperative.”
Sobel said if anyone was interested in receiving a copy of “The Dream Shall Never Die,” they can contact him by email at [email protected]