Archive for the ‘Politics and Current Events’ Category


Thursday, June 1st, 2017

An interview on NPR’s Morning Edition has sent Richard Reeves’s forthcoming book, Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class Is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, Why That Is a Problem, and What to Do about It (Brookings Institution Press, June 13), soaring on Amazon. It is now ranked #27, up from a lowly #53,949.

The episode is part of the show’s “The History of Our Time” series. Steve Inskeep describes the series as investigating, the big trends “driving our history.” He interviews Reeves who says that the upper-middle class, those making six figure incomes and above, dominate the best schools, live in the best homes, and pass on the best futures to their children, at the cost of everyone else.

He calls this “opportunity hoarding.”

Reeves, now an American citizen but originally from the U.K., contends that the American class system is even worse than the system of royalty that rules his birth country. In the UK, they make no bones about the privileges of the aristocracy while in the US, we “have a class system that operates every bit as ruthlessly as the British class system but under the veneer of classless meritocracy. There isn’t even a self awareness.”

In the end, Reeves says, the upper-middle class have created a dangerous separation of themselves from the rest of society and that divide is ruinous, “They are also disproportionately powerful and the fact that they are not only separate but unaware of the degree to which the system works in their favor strikes me as one of the most dangerous political facts of our time.”

The book was not reviewed prepub and many libraries have not yet to ordered copies.

Possible TV Series: SHATTERED

Sunday, May 7th, 2017

9780553447088_1273bOne of the autopsies of the 2016 election might be made into a limited TV series reports the NYT.

Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes (PRH/Crown; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample) has been optioned by Sony’s TriStar Television.

The paper says it has become “a mainstay in dinner-party chatter in political circles since its publication.” In library circles it is doing well too, as we reported earlier, holds soared on light ordering.

It hit the  NYT  Hardcover Nonfiction list at #1 last week, slipping to #2 this week, displaced by Sheryl Sandberg’s Option B

The daily NYT‘s chief book critic Michiko Kakutani calls it “compelling”and The Globe and Mail writes that the authors “may be credited with banging the first hot-tipped galvanized spiral-shank nail into her historical coffin … [it is] an unfavourable – no, an unforgiving – look inside the Clinton presidential campaign of 2016.” Staff from the Clinton campaign are pushing back.

Deadline Hollywood reports that this would make the fourth TV project focused on the election. Mark Halperin and John Heilemann have a project with HBO. Annapurna and Mark Boal (Zero Dark Thirty) have one in the works they are keeping under wraps, saying only it will be “Trump-centric.” Tomorrow Studios is making what they hope will become an ongoing series, called Trump: It Happened Here.

The NYT says of this newest project that no writers or stars have been chosen for the project and a network “is not yet attached.”

SHATTERED Soars To Bestseller Status

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

9780553447088_1273bThe news media is focused on Trump’s first 100 days, but it seems people still want to know about the campaigns that preceded it. Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes (PRH/Crown; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample) hits the new USA Today bestseller list at number 3.

Library holds have grown dramatically since the book’s publication date, increasing ratios at impressive rates, albeit on cautious ordering. One library we checked has moved from a ratio of 1:1 to 53:1. Another jumped from 6:1 to 42:1.

As we noted earlier, NYT chief book critic Michiko Kakutani calls it “compelling” and says “Although the Clinton campaign was widely covered, and many autopsies have been conducted in the last several months, the blow-by-blow details in Shattered— and the observations made here by campaign and Democratic Party insiders — are nothing less than devastating … and while it’s clear that some of these people are spinning blame retroactively, many are surprisingly candid about the frustrations they experienced during the campaign.”

9781250120618_caadfA potential future female presidential candidate also debuts on the list. Landing at No. 8  is This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class by Elizabeth Warren (Macmillan/Metropolitan Books; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample). She tells the paper’s Washington Bureau Chief, Susan Page, “The direction that Donald Trump and his team want to drive this country is a direction that I don’t think America’s middle class can survive.”

The authors of both books have been making the media rounds.

White House Insider

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

9781455588220_ced4bTerry Gross interviewed Alyssa Mastromonaco yesterday on NPR’s Fresh Air, sending her memoir Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?: And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House (Hachette/Twelve; OverDrive Sample) into Amazon’s Top 50, currently at $37.

President Obama’s deputy chief of staff for operations. Mastromonaco shares insider details about his administration, often in contrast with Trump’s, including how the president’s personal travel budget works, the threats that face presidents in the post-9/11 world, and the selection process for Cabinet positions.

Seemingly small details underscore that women are still newcomers in the world of politics, such as the lack of women’s bathrooms in the West Wing.

The book spent two weeks on the NYT Hardcover Nonfiction list and got attention when it was published last month. People reviewed it, saying it is “brimming with … humorous, behind-the-scenes anecdotes, as well as up-close-and-personal moments with Obama that shed new light on who he is as a leader, man and friend.” New York Magazine ran an interview, as did USA Today.

Holds remain strong in most libraries we checked, several running at 4:1 and a few others topping 7:1.

SHATTERED Examines the Clinton Campaign

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

9780553447088_1273bHeavy media attention is sending an account of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign soaring up the Amazon’s sales rankings to #3, Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes (PRH/Crown; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample).

In today’s NYT, chief book critic Michiko Kakutani calls it “compelling” and says “Although the Clinton campaign was widely covered, and many autopsies have been conducted in the last several months, the blow-by-blow details in ‘Shattered’— and the observations made here by campaign and Democratic Party insiders — are nothing less than devastating … and while it’s clear that some of these people are spinning blame retroactively, many are surprisingly candid about the frustrations they experienced during the campaign.”

Most other media sources assigned they political reporter to the book.  Having been closer to the campaign on a day-by-day basis, they offer a different take. NPR’s Washington desk correspondent, Ron Elving, says “There is no Big Reveal, no shocking secret answer. Instead we get a slow-building case against the concept and execution of the Clinton campaign, with plenty of fault falling squarely on the candidate herself.”

A Washington Post piece by senior politics editor Steven Ginsberg is even less positive: “the quick-fire version proves too limiting” he says noting there will  “surely be many books about what really happened inside the 2016 campaigns. Going first has its advantages — perhaps in sales and attention.”

Will Shattered be the next Game Change, the best selling analysis of the 2008 campaign by Mark Halperin and John Heinemann? Elving does not think so, saying the personalities involved in that campaign, Obama, John Edwards, John McCain, and Sarah Palin were “more compelling and telegenic, calling out to turn themselves into the TV movie they became,” adding, “Ultimately, Allen and Parnes get inside the campaign but not inside the mind of Hillary Clinton. Much the same seems to have been true for most of her staff and, ultimately, the voters.”

Halperin and Heinemann are working on their own book on the campaign, following up on their successful Showtime series, “The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth,” now in its third season, covering Trump’s first 100 days in office. As yet untitled, the book is expected to be published early next year. HBO has already acquired the rights to it.

Clinton will publish her own memoir in September. Described as a collection of her personal reflections on quotes and stories that have helped her “celebrate the good times, laugh at the absurd times, persevere during the hard times,” it doesn’t sound like it will delve deeply into the campaign.

There were no prepub reviews for Shattered, indicating it was embargoed, and libraries have ordered it very lightly, with some systems facing 5:1 ratios.

Partisan Politics

Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

9780812993523_c1502Rising to #75 on Amazon’s sales rankings today is the book We Do Our Part: Toward a Fairer and More Equal America by Charles Peters (PRH/RH; OverDrive Sample),

On the PBS News Hour last night Peters, a life-long democrat, a founder of the Peace Corps, and the founding editor of the nonprofit political magazine, The Washington Monthly, tells Judy Woodruff the book grew out of his worry that snobbery and greed have split the country. He blames his own party for becoming too involved in making money and too interested in status.

The book has also gotten coverage in the NYT, which calls it “a desperate plea to his country and party to resist the temptations of greed, materialism and elitism — vices he believes have corroded the civic culture and led to the Democrats’ failure last year.” The Atlantic says “it fills in a missing part in our current political discussion.”


Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

The trailer for Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power has been released:

As we posted earlier, the sequel to Gore’s Academy Award winning film, An Inconvenient Truth, debuted at the Sundance Film Festival where it received a standing ovation. It is now gearing up for its wide release, beginning with the politically pointed trailer.

Variety says the film depicts the “dire consequences of a warming earth — from flooding in Miami and the Philippines, to the worst drought on record in Syria, bringing human suffering there that predated the ongoing civil war, to air pollution so bad in some parts of China that life expectancy has declined by six years.”

A companion book will be published in May, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, Al Gore (Macmillan/Rodale Books).

The documentary will open in theaters on July 28, 2017.

DARK MONEY Fills The Swamp

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

9780307947901_fddd1Jane Mayer’s 2016 best seller, Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right (PRH/Doubleday; RH Large Print; RH Audio/BOT; trade paperback; OverDrive Sample) is back in the news, and rising again on Amazon, jumping from #468 to #48, after the author published a new piece for this week’s The New Yorker entitled “The Reclusive Hedge-Fund Tycoon Behind The Trump Presidency.”

Mayer was interviewed on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday about the subjects of the story, Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah, who have “been major backers of Breitbart News and Steve Bannon’s other projects for years, and they were influential in getting Bannon and Kellyanne Conway into leadership positions in the Trump campaign.”

Dark Money was one of The New York Time’10 Best Books of 2016 and is currently a finalist for the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, which recognizes a “book of extraordinary originality and lasting influence.” The winner of that award will be announced on Monday.

Most libraries we checked still have holds queues.


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.