Open letter to Amanda Kowalcze, Library Director,  Frankfurt Public Library District, Chicago, Illinois

January 13, 2022

Dear Ms. Kowalcze,

I was surprised to hear from one of your patrons that you have refused his request to include my recently published book United States of Fear in the holdings of the library district you oversee. It certainly could not be due to budget limitations, as this patron offered to provide multiple brand-new copies at his own expense. Based on his personal communication with me, you explained your decision was based on the book not having been “critically reviewed,” that it “contains medical errors,” and that it “appears to be self-published.” For these reasons, “It cannot be accepted for addition to the non-fiction holdings.” I feel compelled to correct the record.

As you must know, Ms. Kowalcze, many published works are not critically reviewed. My best-selling book, however, has received overwhelmingly five out of five-star reviews on Amazon by actual readers who purchased it. I would welcome a review by a professional book reviewer; for the time-being, though, we will all have to make do with unpaid commentary from everyday American readers who patronize public libraries such as yours.

I’m also puzzled by your assertion that the book contains “medical errors.” I have scoured the internet for evidence of these medical errors, yet I cannot locate any. Given that my 134-page book contains 29 pages of references, one would assume that the fact-checkers have ample evidence to challenge the accuracy of my sources. Would you be so kind as to point out the specific medical errors I have made, and which sources—CDC, FDA, FBI, Pew Research Center—have supplied the misinformation I relied on to substantiate my conclusions? I value truth in reporting above all else, so I certainly would like to know precisely where I am misinformed.

Regarding the source of publication, I can assure you that United States of Fear is not self-published. Turning to the third page of the book, you will find the words, “PUBLISHED BY BOMBARDIER BOOKS, An Imprint of Post Hill Press.” If you are unaware, Post Hill is a well-established New York-based company responsible for publishing the recently-released best-seller A Plague Upon Our House by Scott Atlas, M.D., senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and Stanford University Medical Center professor. No self-publishing here.

I acknowledge that your responsibilities in directing the Frankfurt Public Library District since you began work on June 21, 2021 must be vast, time-consuming, and challenging to fulfill—I can only imagine the energy expended on simply preventing books from entering the library holdings. Perhaps a budget increase is in order after all. Please let me know what additional resources you need, so that I can advocate for the Frankfurt Public Library District and ensure that its patrons receive access to the books they wish to read. I would be honored to support you in this worthy endeavor. As the Frankfurt Public Library Board noted in your hiring announcement, you have shown yourself to be “a model of respect for ideas…forward thinking…the right person for the job.

Let’s prove them right!

Mark McDonald, M.D.
Psychiatrist and author of United States of Fear: How America Fell Victim to a Mass Delusional Psychosis