John Stormer became known to millions of Americans during the rise to national prominence of Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater. His 254-page paperback book, None Dare Call It Treason, published early in 1964, sold close to seven million copies and became a campaign favorite of Goldwater supporters. He passed into eternity after a year of failing health on July 10th.
Born in 1928 in Altoona, Pennsylvania, Stormer studied electrical engineering at Penn State University but tired of scientific endeavors and earned a degree in journalism at California’s San Jose State University. He served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War as a historian and later became an editor for a Missouri-based magazine popular within the electronics industry. He spent most of his years in Missouri.
In 1960, during one of his frequent trips to the nation’s capital, he attended a conference where he heard Goldwater and Minnesota Congressman Walter Judd deliver talks focused on the need for conservatism and opposition to communism, two subjects that had already become his own personal concerns. Increasingly worried about the future, he decided to write a small pamphlet dealing with those two topics. And he began to deliver speeches focusing on his increasing worries about the future. In 1962, he accepted employment as the leader of the Missouri Federation of Young Republicans. The more he delved into conservatism and anti-communism, the more he wrote. Eventually, his research became the book that made him famous.
Late in 1963, he had completed his heavily documented manuscript, but he had no publisher. Convinced that there weren’t any established publishing firms willing to help him, he sent copies of what he had produced to several dozen people he described as “known conservatives.” Asking them if they would be willing to support a modest printing of his work, he received enough advanced orders to proceed. Published by his own Liberty Bell Press, the book became an instant success even though never having been produced and marketed through the normal book-selling industry.
None Dare Call It Treason sold close to seven million copies during and immediately after the losing Goldwater candidacy. Though heavily scrutinized by liberals and pro-communists who sought to discredit its alarming information, its facts were never shown to be false. A group of liberals calling themselves “The National Committee for Civic Responsibility” issued bogus claims that the book was laden with falsehoods, exaggerations, and inaccuracies. Stormer issued a hastily written response showing that his critics were wrong, not him or his book. The ill-advised attack helped sell more copies of he book.
None Dare Call It Treason’s pages discussed the origin and worldwide growth of communism, the various ways that the U.S. government was aiding the communist menace, the successful penetration by communists and fellow-travelers of education, and the moves taken by subversives into the mass media and religion. Its defense and recommendation of The John Birch Society likely worried liberals and pro-communists as much as any of its facts. Society members throughout the nation helped to distribute a high percentage of the millions of Stormer’s small book.
In later years, John Stormer wrote The Death of a Nation (1968), a 25-year updating of None Dare Call It Treason (1990), and Betrayed By the Bench (2005). He helped mightily to start and direct a private Christian school for youngsters. And, for 31 years, he served as the pastor of a Baptist church in a St. Louis suburb. Though John Stormer and this writer were known to each other, we met only once, at the Wisconsin headquarters of The John Birch Society when he visited after having done some speaking in a nearby community.
Survived by his wife of 67 years, John Stormer will always be remembered with gratitude by the many sleeping Americans his book awakened. It is still capable of generating resistance to what has lately become know as “The Deep State.” My own distribution of more than 500 copies of his book in 1964 helped lead me to The John Birch Society and my lifelong fight for freedom from the designs of the world conspiracy.
John F. McManus is president emeritus of The John Birch Society.