From The New York Times:
There’s a proud White House tradition of cashing in — er, signing lucrative book deals — on the way out the door. That includes not only Presidents but also first ladies, secretaries of state, speechwriters and so on, all the way down to the White House chefs. But the common wisdom in Manhattan publishing circles was that George W. Bush would have to cool his heels for a while before he penned his memoir. The thinking: Bush’s low approval ratings might render any presidential tell-all a toxic asset for his publisher.
But Thursday, Crown, an imprint of Random House, announced that the former President has signed on to write a book, to be published in fall 2010, tentatively titled Decision Points. According to the publishing house, “the book will not be a conventional memoir, but instead will focus exclusively on approximate a dozen of the most interesting and important decisions in the former President’s personal and political life” — including his decision to quit drinking, his reaction to 9/11, his response to Hurricane Katrina; and how he found faith.
Well, kids, you know me–I’m a giver. And I thought that Chimpy might want some help with the cover of his new book. I’ve come up with a couple of alternatives, with a choice of different names.
Bush will have a writing companion in his wife, Laura, who in January signed a multimillion-dollar contract to write her own memoir. But they’ll have to pedal hard to catch up with the literary achievements of the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Thursday also brought news of Barack Obama’s 2008 book earnings — with the same publisher, Crown. The President picked up $2.5 million in royalties last year for his memoir Dreams from My Father (139 weeks and counting on the New York Times paperback nonfiction list) and The Audacity of Hope (64 weeks on the same list). Add that to Obama’s 2007 haul of $4 million for the same two books. Obama already has a contract to write a third nonfiction book for Crown when he leaves office.
Unlike Obama, Bush never had a reputation for being bookish. But Robert Barnett, the Washington superlawyer who represented Bush in the deal (he also represents Obama in his publishing ventures) describes 43 as an in-demand, dedicated author. “There were multiple publishers who expressed strong interest in the book,” he told TIME.
As for Bush’s chosen theme, Michael Coffey, the executive managing editor of Publishers Weekly, says it reminds him of a book penned by another President who was trying to salvage his reputation: Richard Nixon’s 1962 bestseller, Six Crises, in which he tried to set the record straight about such uncomfortable topics as the Checkers speech and his role in the Alger Hiss case.
Here’s what Chimpy had to
garble say about his upcoming book when he was speaking in Canada:
I’m going to put people in my place, so when the history of this administration is written at least there’s an authoritarian voice saying exactly what happened.
Oh, Chimpy! We already know who the authoritarian voice was in your maladministration!