There is now starting to be some attention paid to Glenn Beck’s revival of the book The 5,000 Year Leap. On his recommendation this “history” (and I use the term loosely) has become something of a best seller decades after its initial publication.
The author of the book was right-wing fabulist W. Cleon Skousen. If you want an idea of how much of a wingnut he was, J. Bracken Lee (the infamously ultra-conservative Salt Lake City Mayor and Utah Governor) fired him as police chief for, his word, “Gestapo” tactics. In addition, J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI kept a file on him and let it be known that the they didn’t endorse his claims about communism and two otherwise conservative Mormon scholars criticized the shaky intellectual basis for his work. In 1979, the President of the LDS made a conscious effort to distance the church from Skousen.
Here is the fun part for you longer term Arizonenses. Remember when there was that controversy about Evan Mecham endorsing a text book that used the term “Pickaninny”? Guess who wrote that book? Yep, W. Cleon Skousen. As it turns out, Mecham was a big fan of Skousen’s work too, which gives you an idea about Beck’s world view.