Archive for the ‘Politics and Current Events’ Category

Game Changer

Friday, March 10th, 2017

Donald Trump’s election is sure to fuel many political “what happened” books but one of the most anticipated is by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, the authors who wrote the 2010 title, Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime (Harper).

Entertainment Weekly reports Halperin and Heilemann’s take on the 2016 election, as yet untitled, will be published by Penguin in early 2018.

HBO has already bought the film rights for a mini series adaptation to air shortly after the book hits shelves.

Heilemann tells the NYT in an interview that in the book, “We’ll be looking at all the big unanswered questions of the race, some of them are obvious, some of them are less obvious, but of course we’re interested in breaking news.”

9780061733642_9a340Game Change was turned into a popular HBO movie of the same name, starring Julianne Moore (as Sarah Palin), Woody Harrelson (as campaign strategist Steve Schmidt), and Ed Harris (as John McCain).

The pair also created the Showtime series The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth which ran during 2016 and will return on March 19 for a second series focused on Trump’s first 100 days in office. Stephen Colbert interviewed Halperin and Heilemann on his show last night.

Halperin and Heilemann followed Game Change with Double Down (PRH/Penguin), about the 2012 election.

The NYT lists some of the other titles forthcoming about the 2016 election, including “Katy Tur of NBC News, who is writing a book about covering the Trump campaign, and Amy Chozick of The New York Times, who is working on a memoir of her years covering Hillary Clinton.” In addition, Melville House is publishing The Destruction of Hillary Clinton by Susan Bordo in April.

Disappointing many, Halperin and Heilemann tell the NYT that Alec Baldwin is not in the running to play Trump in the HBO adaptation. No mention was made about the possibility of Kate McKinnon as Hillary Clinton.

Rather Returns

Friday, March 10th, 2017

Former CBS New Anchor Dan Rather is writing a book on patriotism, What Unites Us (Workman/Algonquin Books; ISBN 9781616207), to be published on Nov. 7, 2017, the off-year election day.

Rather, who has been active on social media,  posted the news on Facebook, saying he understands patriotism not as “a divisive cudgel but a common purpose … [it does not] ignore the sins of our nation, but challenge[s] them honestly and head on. So in the book, I will be exploring themes that I see as fundamental to holding together this great experiment in democracy.”

The AP reports that the book will be “a collection of essays about topics ranging from civil rights to schools and libraries and what it means to be an American.”

9781455513468Publisher Algonquin says the essays will also address “the values that have transformed us, such as the … drive toward science and innovation that has made the United States great.”

Rather has written several other books, including his memoir Rather Outspoken: My Life in the News (Hachette/Grand Central, 2012).

Cover art for the new title has not yet been released.


Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

9781594206566_44459In February of last year, Michael V. Hayden, the former Head of the National Security Agency and the CIA during the most tense and controversial years of the Bush administration, went on the book circuit to promote his account of that time, Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror (PRH/Penguin; Penguin Audio; BOT; OverDrive Sample). It rose as high as #10 on Amazon after several media appearances.

The paperback edition, released last month, is getting renewed attention as General Hayden is on news shows to comment on Trump’s weekend tweet accusing Obama of wiretapping him in Trump Towers before the election. On MSNBC’s Morning Joe yesterday, Hayden said that’s not possible because “the plumbing does not work that way.” He further said that Trump’s tweet was an attempt “to distract attention from what was a very very bad news cycle and he put his reputation, that of his predecessor and that of his nation at risk to get at least a draw out of the nesxt 24 hours news.”

The book rose again on Amazon, moving from #55,946 to #226. It’s likely to move higher, after Hayden appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert tonight.

Most libraries are showing hardcover copies available.

Documenting Protest

Friday, March 3rd, 2017

9781419728853_71c28Debuting on the latest NYT Paperback Nonfiction list at #9 is Why I March: Images from the Woman’s March Around the World (Abrams Books), a collection of photos from the global Women’s March held the day after this year’s  inauguration ceremonies. The American marches may have been the largest single-day demonstrations in U.S. history. Websites and newspapers were full of images of the record-setting crowds.

9781579658281_89d6cA related book Why We March: Signs of Protest and Hope–Voices from the Women’s March (Workman/Artisan) has also been published, featuring images of the creative and notable signs carried that day.

Royalties from both books will be donated to organizations that deal with some of the issues supported by the marchers.

America’s Developing COMPLACENT CLASS

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

9781250108692_d7cfeAre Americans still movers and shakers? In his new book The Complacent Class: The Self-Defeating Quest for the American Dream (Macmillan/St. Martin’s; OverDrive Sample), George Mason University economist Tyler Cowen says the answer is no. His analysis is receiving wide spread media attention.

On NPR’s Morning Edition today, Cowen argues that Americans “have grown more risk averse and are reluctant to switch jobs or move to another state.” As a result, they are not exposed to new ideas and have become less innovative. This has also brought about a new form of segregation, “wealthier people tend to live together more than before and so do poorer people.” Living in their own bubbles, they are unaware of much that is going on around them, “we see a version of this in the last election where so many people are shocked by the candidate who actually won.”

Thus far holds are heavy in just a few places on light orders, but the topic is much in the news and attention is growing. David Brooks writes about it in his NYT Op-Ed column, Cowen was interviewed in the Washington Post and featured on the Charlie Rose Show.

The following is the first in a set of videos Cohen has released.

Below, the NPR story.

Yiannopoulos Book Deal Canceled

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

Self-styled “provocateur” Milo Yiannopoulos has finally gone too far. His book DANGEROUS (S&S/Threshold Editions; S&S Audio), originally announced for release on March 14, then delayed to June 13, has now been canceled by publisher Simon and Schuster because, reports the NYT, of the release of a “video in which he condones sexual relations with boys as young as 13 and laughs off the seriousness of pedophilia by Roman Catholic priests.” Further, states the story, he may lose his position as Senior Editor at Breitbart News.

That doesn’t mean the book will not be published. Yiannopoulos can now shop the book to other publishers.

Roxane Gay, who canceled her contract for future books with Simon and Schuster in protest over the Yiannopoulos book, released a statement that the move does not change her position.

Yiannopoulos Book Delayed

Friday, February 17th, 2017

9781501173080_e3f72The Breitbart News editor who was banned from Twitter for harassment and calls himself “The most fabulous supervillain on the internet,” is delaying his controversial new book DANGEROUS (S&S/Threshold Editions; S&S Audio), pushing the pub. date back from its original March 14 to June 13.

USA Today reports he has asked publisher for more time so he can include recent events in the book, including the violent protests against his planned appearance at the University of California, Berkeley, which was then cancelled. 

Reactions to the book have been highly charged. Roxane Gay pulled her forthcoming book with the publisher saying “I can’t in good conscience let them publish it while they also publish Milo.”

As USA Today characterizes it, S&S president Carolyn Reidy “felt compelled to send a letter to concerned authors, which read in part: ‘First and foremost, I want to make clear that we do not support or condone, nor will we publish, hate speech.’”

Yiannopoulos told The Hollywood Reporter, “I met with top execs at Simon & Schuster earlier in the year and spent half an hour trying to shock them with lewd jokes and outrageous opinions. I thought they were going to have me escorted from the building — but instead they offered me a wheelbarrow full of money.”

Bill Maher has booked Yiannopoulos on his show for tonight, causing The Intercept co-founder Jeremy Scahill to cancel his own appearance and forcing Maher to defend his actions, according to Entertainment Weekly.

Yiannopoulos has a large social media following and is a master at creating his own PR. His initial book announcement sent the title soaring on Amazon but it has since fallen sharply, although it remains in the top 50 sellers based on pre-orders. Despite his full court press, few know much about the book. USA Today offers a list of what is known, including that S&S won’t talk about the content and “respectfully declined” a request for more details. Libraries are showing low holds ratios.

Elizabeth Warren Will Not Be Silenced

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

9781250120625Drawing attention to a Senate vote this week to force her to stop talking, Elizabeth Warren announces that she will publish a new book, due April 18, This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class (Macmillan/Metropolitan Books).

The Associated Press reports “It will offer a mini-history of the American middle class, from the New Deal of the 1930s to what the publisher calls President Donald Trump’s ‘phony promises’ that endanger it now.”

It will also include, says the publisher, “eye-opening stories about her battles in the Senate and vividly describes the experiences of hard-working Americans who have too often been given the short end of the stick.”

As Fortune points out, potential presidential candidates “often write books about their experiences to burnish their credentials prior to a presidential run. Former President Barack Obama wrote Dreams of My Father and The Audacity of Hope, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrote Hard Choices in 2014.” All were bestsellers.

Warren has written other books, including her 2014 title, A Fighting Chance, which became a bestseller.

American Microcosm

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

9781250085801_3099aCalled by Laura Miller of Slate part of “a new and still fairly accidental genre: the on-the-ground Trump explainer,” Glass House: The 1% Economy and the Shattering of the All-American Town by Brian Alexander (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Press; OverDrive Sample) jumped into the top 100 on Amazon’s sales rankings today.  

Yesterday, Alexander was interviewed on NPR’s Fresh Air about his book on Lancaster, Ohio and the Anchor Hocking glass factory which powered the city through the 40s, 50s, and 60s. He explains that the wives of the company’s executives “threw themselves into the town … they made sure the sidewalks got repaired, the streets got paved, they attended city council meetings. This was a core of civic leadership.”

Then, in the 1980s, Carl Icahn began a highly profitable move to extract money from the company. As a result, details Alexander, it eventually suffered a hostile takeover. The first thing the new owners did was “fire all of the executives and close down the headquarters … So you’ve taken away the executives, you’ve taken away their wives, their families. … [It was] devastating for the town.”

Miller calls the book part of a genre of nonfiction “illuminating the desperation driving white small-town Americans, as told by a native son. The vanguard title in this pack is J.D. Vance’s surprise success Hillbilly Elegy.”

Glass House she says “is less personal, less tortured, a work of journalism far more willing to indict … This book hunts bigger game … [it] reads like an odd—and oddly satisfying—fusion of George Packer’s The Unwinding and one of Michael Lewis’ real-life financial thrillers.”

The Trump Bump Continues

Monday, February 6th, 2017

fred-douglas best-brightest

Donald Trump may have read fewer books than he has written, but, as we’ve noted before, his administration is having an effect on book sales.  Frederick Douglass’s autobiography got a boost after Trump lauded him this week (although, based on his comments, some question if he has a firm handle on who Douglass was). The number of titles is growing so rapidly that Lit Hub has begun a running list, which includes the Constitution

Trump is not the only one in the administration having an effect on sales. As we noted earlier, a NYT report that Trump senior advisor Bannon assigned David Halberstam’s The Best and the Brightest to everyone in the cabinet because it shows “how little mistakes early on can lead to big ones later,” caused that book to rise on Amazon’s sales rankings.

There’s no word on whether Trump is reading it.

Cautionary Tale

Sunday, February 5th, 2017

Time cover BannonFrom Saturday Night Live‘s opening skit last night, where he is portrayed as the Grim Reaper, to the cover of Time magazine, where he is called “The Great Manipulator,” Trump’s chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon has been all over the media.

He also happens to be behind the current rise of a book on Amazon sales rankings, The Best and the Brightest, David Halberstam’s 1972 examination, republished by PRH/Ballantine in 1993, of how, despite having some of the best minds in the country in the cabinet, the Kennedy administration got the country into the Vietnam War.

In a story in the NYT today, sports reporter Marc Tracy writes that, shortly after Christmas, he spotted Bannon carrying the book in an airport and asked if he was reading it. He replied that he’d assigned it to “everyone” on the transition team and that “It’s great for seeing how little mistakes early on can lead to big ones later.”

As Tracy concludes, it’s difficult to know if Bannon puts his latest moves into the category of “little mistakes.”

Supreme Court Nominee’s Book Rising

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

9780691140971In a high-profile prime-time announcement last night, Donald Trump delivered on his promise to nominate a conservative to the Supreme Court, Neil M. Gorsuch. As a result, Gorsuch’s 2006 book, The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia (Princeton University Press) is rising on Amazon’s sales rankings.

As might be expected for a book written primarily for the legal profession, it is widely held in college and law libraries but few public libraries own copies, mostly in ebook format.

In it, Gorsuch argues against laws that allow patients the right to physician-assisted suicide, such as those in Oregon, which gained national attention when Brittany Maynard chose that path. A book on her story was published late last year.

The Washington Post writes of the Gorsuch book:

“The front cover looks almost like a Tom Clancy novel, with purple all-caps block text set against a black background. But the book itself is a deep, highly cerebral overview of the ethical and legal debate surrounding the practices. In it, Gorsuch reveals that he firmly opposes assisted suicide and euthanasia … “

Death of a Spy

Friday, January 27th, 2017

9781101973998_d801aThe author of a true-life espionage tale about the murder of Alexander Litvinenko, a Russian secret service officer and enemy of Putin, Luke Harding was the guest on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday. He discussed his book on the subject, A Very Expensive Poison: The Assassination of Alexander Litvinenko and Putin’s War with the West (PRH/Vintage; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Due to his reporting on the murder while he was the Moscow bureau chief for The Guardian, Harding was expelled from Russia.

He has also written about Edward Snowden (The Snowden Files) and Julian Assange (WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy). Both books were sources for films, Snowden, directed by Oliver Stone, and The Fifth Estate starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Assange.

The book is rising on Amazon’s sales rankings today, skyrocketing from #116,292 to just outside the top 100. Libraries have been slow to order, or have bought in low numbers, perhaps due to a lack of pre-pub reviews.

The full interview also addresses possible Russian hacking of the US Presidential election, fake news, and Putin’s end game.

Setting the Agenda

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

9781630060879_ae04aTimed to the inauguration, Big Agenda: President Trump’s Plan to Save America by David Horowitz (Humanix Books; Dreamscape Media; OverDrive Sample), published today, is has been rising on Amazon’s sales rankings, quickly moving from outside the top 100 to its current position at #66.

Author Horowitz is the founder of the conservative Freedom Center. His book is being promoted on the Breitbart site where he is a contributor. Today, he tweeted that he is set to appear on several radio shows and on Fox News Tucker Carlson Tonight.

Horowitz’s name came up during recent confirmation hearings for Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. Sessions was questioned about accepting an award from Horowitz’s foundation.

Despite the book’s subtitle, this is not Trump’s plan, which he outlined in a speech in November and on his Web site, but Horowitz’s views on what the plan should be. Fellow conservative pundits are backing the book. Rush Limbaugh calls it “a road map for a winning agenda that conservatives will embrace.” Ann Coulter recommends it as a “brilliant battle plan.”

There were no pre-pub reviews and orders are low across the country.

Explaining America

Monday, January 2nd, 2017

Face The Nation hosted a panel of authors on its New Year’s Day episode, illustrating how the news media is turning to books to talk about the divisions within the country.

9780679763888_272bc  Hillbilly Elegy  9781627795272_80c35  9781501159503_db1ac

Four authors took part in the discussion, Isabel Wilkerson, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration (RH/Vintage, 2011; OverDrive Sample), J.D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis (Harper; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample), actor and author Diane Guerrero, who wrote In the Country We Love: My Family Divided (Macmillan/Henry Holt; OverDrive Sample), and Amani Al- Khatahthbeh, Muslim Girl: A Coming of Age (S&S; OverDrive Sample).

Host John Dickerson opened the segment by saying “We’ve gathered four authors who’ve written about the many faces of America, about the differences that divide us, as well as the common experiences that can unite us as one.”

In the personal and heartfelt discussion, Vance, who has been the focus of much of the media’s attempt to explain the anger of many among the white working class and has become a contributing opinion writer for the NYT, says:

“[what] really ties us together is something aspirational about being an American. Right? So whether you’re a black American moving from the rural South or from South America or from an Islamic country, like, whether it’s our parents, our grandparents or even further back, it’s this idea that we want something better for our kids than we have right now … That we’re going to keep getting better. Things are going to keep on improving. And I think, frankly, a lot of the problems we have in our politics are in some ways rooted in different groups thinking that things aren’t continuing to get better. I think that pessimism, that cynicism, is a real problem in our politics and our society more broadly.”

Isabel Wilkerson says “we talk a lot about diversity, but I think we should talk more about commonality. I think we’re very aware of the things that make us different. I don’t think we realize enough what makes us the same and what makes us– our hearts beat the same and the things that we want are so similar.”

The Warmth of Other Suns is rising on Amazon, jumping from #1,226 to #96. Hillbilly Elegy is already at #4. The other two books are farther down (Guerrero at #503 and Al- Khatahthbeh at #787).