The Book The Religious Right Killed

  • The Religious Right killed Richard Yao’s book.  It was like killing AA’s Blue Book.  And depriving millions yearning to leave the fundamentalist fold a life saver.  And denying tens of millions who have left a roadmap to faster, fuller, and a less painful recovery.  
  • Sad to say, this book is even more relevant today.  Christian Fundamentalism is more potent now than ever. In fact we are in a war of Fundamentalisms.  As Richard Dawkins’ God Delusion and similar books show, Yao’s book is even more likely to be a runaway bestseller today.
  • Heralded by daily media stories and frequent guestings on Oprah and other TV shows, Yao’s book was agented by top guns at William Morris and ICM.
  • At William Morris, Yao’s book agent was Robert Gottlieb, then the Senior Vice President and head of William Morris’ Literary Department.  Gottlieb was the super-agent for mega-bestsellers like Tom Clancy. He remains, as Chairman of Trident Media Group, one of the most powerful agents in the business.  At ICM, with the help of bestselling “Passages” author Gail Sheehy, Yao obtained Luis Sanjurjo as his agent.  At that time, Sanjurjo was also agenting the memoirs of “Death of a Salesman” playwright Arthur Miller.  These heavyweights simply don’t take on books and clients with no merit or market potential.
  • Yao’s book was successfully sold to two of the biggest trade publishers.  And legendary editors Larry Ashmead and Aaron Asher were assigned to the book.  
  • The timing was perfect.  Pat Robertson had just stunned the world by winning the Iowa Caucuses.  Big Publishing smelled bestseller.
  • The advance blurbs screamed big book.   Here are just a few: 
  • If Gary Hart had read this book, he might (have become) President. (Richard Yao’s book) extends an intelligent, knowing and compassionate hand to those terrified to venture outside the mindset of authoritarian religion.  It makes a journey of discovery and healing out of a painful passage. — Gail Sheehy, bestselling author of “Passages” 
  • Goes beyond The Road Less Traveled.  A book whose time has come. — Dr. Henry Coffin Everett III, Prominent Harvard-trained Psychiatrist, Boston
  • A goldmine of a book….Exciting, Practical, and Life-Transforming. — Dr. Frank Riessman, Ph.D., founder & Exec Dir, National Self-Help Clearinghouse
  • The story behind the censoring of Richard Yao’s book is a book in itself.  It showed what happened when Big Publishing lusted for the apple of the “Christian bookstore” market, and how far to the extreme right the U.S. has tilted.
As The Economist pointed out, “The first big company to spot the potential of the religion market was Rupert Murdoch‘s HarperCollins, which bought Zondervan, a religious publisher, back in 1988.” After Murdoch, the publishing pack followed like sheep.
What should haunt us is how many millions more might have left the bondage of Fundamentalism if Yao’s book had not been censored and killed.  How many lives even might have been saved?!

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