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Forget Obama and Hillary

It’s Bill vs. Greenspan vs. Valerie Plame Wilson. Somewhere at the intersection of policy porn and score-settling memoir lies the big-name political tract, and fall is often the season for them. Which will make the biggest media splash possible?

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The Age of Turbulence by Alan Greenspan (Penguin Press, September 17)


BETWEEN THE COVERS: Former Fed chairman’s memoir (much of which was written in the tub). Aptly, the last chapter will be called “The Delphic Future.”
PRE-PUB SCUTTLEBUTT: The great and cryptic god of capitalists famously got a Hillary-trumping $8.5 million for presumably telling all at long last.
ENEMIES LIST: Nosy congressmen; lefty European leaders; Nixon and his “split personality.”
LIKELY MEDIA PENETRATION: Topic number one on financial channels and some political ones, too—depending on how much he really tells.





The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy by John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt (FSG, September 4)


BETWEEN THE COVERS: Two academics argue that advocates of Israel have too strong an influence on our foreign policy, to the detriment of the U.S. and the Middle East.
PRE-PUB SCUTTLEBUTT: Their essay in the London Review of Books led to accusations ranging from anti-Semitism to bad writing. Speaking dates have been canceled.
ENEMIES LIST: The Anti-Defamation League; pro-Israel lobbyists and the Evangelical Christians who love them.
LIKELY MEDIA PENETRATION: If all press is good press, they’re halfway there. If good press is convincing your detractors, not so good.





Fair Game by Valerie Plame Wilson (Simon & Schuster, October 22)


BETWEEN THE COVERS: The story (or the part of it the CIA will let you see) of how the former secret agent was outed by the Bush administration.
PRE-PUB SCUTTLEBUTT: Plame Wilson recently lost a suit over the CIA’s demand that she redact the dates she worked for them, despite the fact it’s on Wikipedia.
ENEMIES LIST: People she’s sued: Karl Rove; Scooter Libby; Dick Cheney; Michael Hayden; intelligence director J. Michael McConnell.
LIKELY MEDIA PENETRATION: Oldish news, but a story the media won’t mind rehashing—especially as she will likely blame the government, not the press.





Independents Day: Awakening the American Spirit by Lou Dobbs (Viking, November 6)


BETWEEN THE COVERS: A populist manifesto for isolationist protectionists, expanding on his nightly CNN rabble-rousing.
PRE-PUB SCUTTLEBUTT: Dobbs’s rants have marked CNN’s increasing reliance on opinion to compete with O’Reilly, et al. Anti-immigration rancor has raised his profile.
ENEMIES LIST: George W. Bush; Republicans; Democrats; the U.N.; the W.T.O.; multinationals; “other nations.”
LIKELY MEDIA PENETRATION: He’s already got a media platform, where the shilling is easy. But rival programs are less likely to give him yet more airtime.





The End of America by Naomi Wolf (Chelsea Green, September 5)


BETWEEN THE COVERS: A polemic detailing the “ten steps” by which America is becoming a Fascist state. Incendiary? Sure, but hardly off the beaten liberal path.
PRE-PUB SCUTTLEBUTT: Wolf’s first book since her revelations (in this magazine) of kinda being sexually harassed by Harold Bloom.
ENEMIES LIST: George W. Bush; the administration of George W. Bush; Adolf Hitler; Benito Mussolini.
LIKELY MEDIA PENETRATION: The Bush-Fascist parallel might get her on Ann Coulter’s radar, but will scare away others.





Surrender Is Not an Option by John R. Bolton (Threshold Editions, November 6)


BETWEEN THE COVERS: Bush’s pugnacious, ousted U.N. ambassador tells of trying to turn the world body on to his ideas about negotiating less and bombing more.
PRE-PUB SCUTTLEBUTT: Bolton’s been beating the drum for bombing Iran, condemning agreements with North Korea, and plugging his book in every speech and op-ed.
ENEMIES LIST: The Axis of Evil; Congress; the U.N.
LIKELY MEDIA PENETRATION: Bolton will get some Iran-related coverage, but the buzz on this book will likely come and go in a news cycle.





The Conscience of a Liberal by Paul Krugman (WW Norton, October 1)


BETWEEN THE COVERS: The Times’ lefty economics columnist proposes a new New Deal, an antidote to our new Gilded Age.
PRE-PUB SCUTTLEBUTT: Krugman’s developed a loyal civilian fan base while co-writing lucrative econ textbooks, cashing in on both trade and academic markets.
ENEMIES LIST: George W. Bush; Herbert Hoover; Ronald Reagan; Richard Mellon Scaife and his anti-tax cronies.
LIKELY MEDIA PENETRATION: A lock for Charlie Rose and C-span, and his liberal popularity will make it a best-seller. But he’s no Michael Moore.





Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World by Bill Clinton (Knopf, September 4)


BETWEEN THE COVERS: Bill’s much shorter follow-up to My Life—inspiring stories about activists, drawing on his work in Africa. Profiles in Courage it ain’t.
PRE-PUB SCUTTLEBUTT: He reportedly got $5 million for it. Being rushed to press, perhaps so as not to overshadow Hillary later on.
ENEMIES LIST: The Janjaweed; poverty; global warming; AIDS; Hurricane Katrina.
LIKELY MEDIA PENETRATION: It’s Bill Clinton! He’s planning a media blitz (sorry, “book tour”).





Heroic Conservatism by Michael J. Gerson (HarperOne, November 1)


BETWEEN THE COVERS: Former Bush speechwriter takes credit for, calls for revival of “compassionate conservatism.”
PRE-PUB SCUTTLEBUTT: Former writing partner Matthew Scully wrote a damning rebuttal in The Atlantic, saying Gerson was hogging credit.
ENEMIES LIST: Democrats; Brent Scowcroft; Henry Kissinger; philosopher Richard Rorty; atheists.
LIKELY MEDIA PENETRATION: Lots of advance publicity, and Fox News, of course. But “compassionate conservatism” is so 2000.


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Fall Preview 2007

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