There is still an “Old West” feel to book publishing in America. And why not? We are still a republic stretching its horizons. The American dream is very much alive. Even saddled with a dire economy, Americans are still galloping toward the future in a way that other countries can’t fathom.
So it is with publishing, where a wild and woolly shootout is looming this spring, given the release of two new titles about the fellow I like to call “The Man From Kenya.”
Barack H. Obama is indeed the nation’s 44th president. It’s doubtful that even Bill Clinton was a more polarizing figure. After all, the diabolical governor from Arkansas was also a goofy rogue who ate too much fast food and chased girls. Even editorial writers who should know better were transparently giddy about BC’s dalliances.
Oh, sure, a few conservative Christians speculated that “Slick Willie” (so named by the brilliant Paul Greenberg) was in fact the antichrist. It was just so difficult to imagine, however, that this fellow shoving in Big Macs was also directing a spiritual shadow war against the forces of good and light.
Obama is another matter.
Please, I don’t mean I think he’s the antichrist. That isn’t the focus of this week’s Writer’s Bloc. The focus is on two new books that claim to accurately portray the one-term senator from Illinois.
It was recently reported in Publishers Weekly that Knopf will publish a biography of Obama by David Remnick, editor for the New Yorker. “The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama” will roll out April 6.
The publishing giant has announced that the book will be “a sweeping and deeply reported look at both the life of the 44th president and the complex saga of race in America that led to his historic election.”
The first printing will come in at 200,000 copies, and the project will also release in e-book and audio editions.
Remnick, according to his publisher, has produced the “fullest narrative possible of a sitting president,” and it is based on hundreds of interviews with Obama, his staff, family, confidantes and political rivals.
I hope these extensive interviews include one with the doctor who delivered Obama; wouldn’t that be fun? Something tells me a bio authored by an editor from the New Yorker will not feature such explosive research.
In fact, the whole project reminds me of that comical old saying, that description of flattering pieces written by fawning hacks: glow jobs. That journalistic epithet appears to be dead-on with this propaganda piece by Knopf and the White House.
Rounding out the press release for Remnick’s book is the announcement that the book will also include letters Obama wrote to his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham. I find this interesting only if someone explains why her name was Stanley. Perhaps she was chummy with Oliver Hardy.
In any event, Publishers Weekly ended the announcement/advertisement by quoting Knopf publisher Sonny Mehta, who said this new book “reveals not only [Obama's] character, but also his trials, motivations and perspectives in a way that a memoir, even a remarkable one, cannot.”
Please allow me to translate: This book will worship Obama in a way that the commander-in-narcissism couldn’t get away with in a memoir.
Okay, all that to say this: Once “The Bridge” is released, buy it if you must, but only as a paperweight or doorstop. Because the definitive work on Obama will also release very soon after Remnick’s effort.
“The Manchurian President: Barack Obama’s Ties to Communists, Socialists and Other Anti-American Extremists,” by the investigative team of Aaron Klein and Brenda Elliott, will be released by WND Books.
I’ve seen an advance copy of the book and let me say this: You and I have never read anything like it and likely will not again. It is explosive like an atom bomb is “explosive.” That is to say, “The Manchurian President” will reduce the Obama myth to a mere shadow as it blasts the political landscape upon release.
In fact, the book is so revealing in its investigation of this consummate change agent … well, I’ve put even my beloved Westie, Ralph, into witness protection (our other dog, a Jack Russell, is on his own). I can only imagine what kind of heat will come Klein’s and Elliott’s way.
I doff my hat to them; this kind of investigative journalism is uncommon. This is the team that has brought us startling exposes about the Arab-Israeli crisis, and “The Manchurian President” is also the most exhaustively documented project I’ve ever seen. The sourcing is almost a separate book.
While Knopf’s flattering flower will extend a Laurel-and-Hardy handshake to Obama’s love-sick fans, “The Manchurian President” will give the rest of us real Americans a brutally clear portrait of the man who claims to have our best interests at heart.
I will go so far as to say that this book will be a key reason Obama will be a one-term, Jimmy Carter-esque president. It’s that stunning. Klein and Elliott leave no stone or acorn unturned as they peel away the layers of Obama’s public face. The thing underneath is flat-out scary. There is original research into Obama’s ACORN ties, his giddiness over black liberation theology (a hallmark of leftist ideology) and the mysterious “college years.”
Beyond the fact that “The Manchurian President” is, I think, a landmark book, its placement, along with “The Bridge,” is also a fun reminder that only in America can two completely separate realities compete for readers’ dollars.
“The Bridge” will prove to be a forgettable tingle down Chris Matthews’ leg. “The Manchurian President” just might save the nation.