Saturday, April 10, 2010
An American Nightmare
Edited by Richard Kim & Betsy Reed
(Health Communications / 0-757-31524-0 / 978-0-757-31524-4 / December 2009 / 336 pages/ 6 x 9 15-oz. format / $15.95 / Amazon $10.85)
(Turnaround Publisher Services Ltd, London / 1-873-26251-5 / 978-1-873-26251-1 / October 2009 / 5.1 x 7.6 x 1.1 – 11.4-oz. format / Turnaround has about thirty releases at Amazon UK and a dozen at Amazon US dating from 2004-09, all in the same small format.)
(First released by O/R Books / 978-0-984-29500-5 / October 2009 / 336 pages / $16 direct / $10 e-book)
Going Rouge is a collection of recently published articles by well-known left-leaning political journalists. The list of contributors includes Jim Hightower, Naomi Klein, Jane Hamsher, Thomas Frank, Robert Reich, Gloria Steinem, Max Blumenthal, Matt Taibbi, Katrina vanden Heuvel, and many other familiar favorites. The book includes fifty articles, including an introduction by the editors. Although I had previously read practically every article in the book in the originally published online version of each article, considering my personal involvement in this release, as well as my intense study of the subject matter since August 2008, I could not resist reading the whole thing again. Part of my purpose from the beginning was to write this special review for PODBRAM. Unlike practically all other books, there will not be a version of this review released anywhere else.
A lot of specific technical and promotional knowledge concerning publishing issues can be revealed by the publishing history of this book. John Oakes and Colin Robinson are a pair of traditional publishers who founded O/R Books in 2009 to release POD books. Going Rouge is their first release under this new imprint. They have since released two more books under the O/R imprint. Through my constant research of political blogs and POD sites, I came across the news of this upcoming release last October. The publisher claimed at the time that Going Rouge would never be released for sale anywhere outside the direct O/R Books website. Due to my knowledge of the lack of success of similar projects, particularly Two Babies, a book published by an author who will not even use his real name, even when the books are marketed directly from his website, I immediately jumped into the fray. I not only contacted John Oakes directly, but I let several bloggers whom I knew to be interested in this vital subject matter know about the situation, also too! I described this marketing boo-boo in detail in an article at one of my other blogs on 10/24/09. The publisher changed his mind and released the book to Amazon in December and I posted an update to NIAFS 12/7/09.
There are actually three versions of Going Rouge. The O/R version is still available only directly from the publisher, and it is the only version that has been released in any electronic format. There are no Kindle or Smashwords versions. At about the same time last December when the book was finally made available at Amazon, an English edition was released by Turnaround Publisher Services Ltd. of London. The third edition is, of course, the Health Communications, Inc., version I have read for this review. The Turnaround edition can be ordered directly from Amazon UK and the HCI version can be ordered directly from Amazon US. Each of these can be ordered from other sellers at the opposite Amazon. All three versions are listed as having 336 pages, and there is no question that my copy has this number. The Turnaround edition is listed as a smaller, thicker format with the same number of pages. There is no question that smaller format is accurate because all the Turnaround books at Amazon are exactly this size. Is the paper thicker in the Turnaround version? Possibly. Is the page count incorrectly stated? Possibly. Although it is not stated on the O/R website, the O/R edition is most certainly the same format size as the Turnaround edition. How do I know this? My book includes the subtitle on the spine and an additional blurb by Geoffrey Dunn on the back. These were obviously added when they increased the format size. I strongly suspect that the Turnaround version is also POD, like the O/R version, although there is no mention of this on the Turnaround website. My best guess is that the owners of O/R Books managed to sell the rights to HCI, the publishers of the ubiquitous Chicken Soup books, at the last minute before making the Amazon deal. The contentious issue from the beginning was Amazon’s fat cut of the book’s list price. It is certainly not a stretch to sell a book such as this one to a traditional publisher.
What about the content of this collection of articles by famous writers for The Nation? For a reader who has been following the story since the beginning, there were, of course, few surprises. Matt Taibbi deserves special mention, not only because he is the spring chicken of this bunch, and one of the best new political writers of modern times, but his article is one of the best in the book. I use the term chicken on purpose because I am thoroughly convinced that descriptive applies to anyone in the MSM writing or speaking about The Palin Clan. I am apparently one of the few who is certain that Babygate is bigger than Watergate simply because so much of the mainline media and political establishment are obviously complicit in the cover-up. I have less than zero respect for any journalist who is a part of this wretched story, and that is that. The list of other Palingates is surely long enough to satisfy any journalistic hound in need of a fix, but for the pragmatic intellectuals among us, Babygate is the main issue that matters.
Do I recommend Going Rouge: An American Nightmare? Absolutely. I am not going to bother trying to get noticed on Amazon by adding another review to a long list, but if I were to post a review, I would easily rate it at four stars. No Babygate, no fifth star. Just call me hardheaded. Should these writers be considered mainline establishment? That’s a good question. Most of them seem to be caught in the purgatory between the MSM and the liberal bloggers. Libs love ‘em, but most of cable news hates them. The bottom line is that everyone should be fully cognizant of the issues covered in Going Rouge, but unfortunately only half the participants in The Second Civil War will be inclined to read this material.
See also: The Palin Digest
Why She's Dangerous