With the primary season underway, the approaching presidential election is becoming inescapable. Already the news networks are switching into serious campaign-coverage mode, with plenty of color-coded maps, raucous commentary, and game-changing polls on the way. Publishers are also preparing for the big political season—with a host of timely titles for what’s sure to be a heated election cycle.
We expect 2012 to be a good year for political books in general and conservative books in particular,” says Adrian Zackheim, president and publisher of Penguin’s Sentinel imprint. “Of course it’s always hard to know exactly which political figures and which issues will prove to be the most energizing to political readers, both on the left and the right.”
At Rowman & Littlefield, publisher Marcus Boggs emphasizes the importance of providing an option for all political stripes: “We strive for fairness in the presentation of these arguments, trusting to the good will of our readers, figuring that open and honest debate is the best safeguard of our way of life.”
With books as diverse as Stephen Colbert’s America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t (Grand Central, Oct.) and Jonah Goldberg’s The Tyranny of Clichés: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideals (Sentinel, May), the philosophy of “something for every voter” is shared by most publishers. Organized by publisher, here’s a rundown of some of the top titles this election year.
The Ten Percent Solution: Simplifying the Tax Code in the New Economy by Theresa M. Moore (Mar. 2011, paper, $9.95, ISBN 978-1-4536-5360-9) takes a look at taxes from several angles, providing a short history of taxation and analyzing alternative approaches, in response to President Obama’s call in 2009 for public suggestions on tax reform.
Blue Rider Press
It’s the Middle Class, Stupid! Screwed, Bruised and Tattooed by James Carville and Stan Greenberg (June, hardcover, $25.95, ISBN 978-0-399-16039-4). Positioned in an early summer slot just as the campaign season will be seriously heating up, this work alternates between the voices of prominent liberal pundit Carville and noted Democratic pollster and strategist Greenberg (both of whom worked on campaigns for Clinton, among many others). Publisher David Rosenthal hopes Middle Class will court a liberal community hungry for more books aimed at them. “While Republican and conservative books have had many successes, the progressive community is frustrated, looking for answers and ideas they can use in directing our country’s future,” Rosenthal says. “It’s the perfect moment to remind voters about what has been taken away from them, and what they need to do to take it back from the 1%.”
PKP for President by Beth Hilgartner (Dec. 2011, paper, $14.95, ISBN 978-0-9826644-7-6). Looking for an unusual candidate? Hilgartner’s tongue-in-cheek tome builds on the grassroots online campaign of PKP—a cat. With outreach to political bloggers and the media and events online and off planned, the publisher calls PKP “the purrrfect candidate for this primary season.”
Now or Never: Saving America from Economic Collapse by Sen. Jim DeMint (Jan., hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-1-45551-184-6). South Carolina senator Jim DeMint—whose Saving Freedom was a 2009 bestseller—focuses on how to turn back from the brink of “economic Armageddon” in his latest book, which outlines how to build on the successes of the Tea Party movement and encourages more citizen activism at the polls in 2012.
America, You Sexy Bitch: A Love Letter to Freedom by Meghan McCain and Michael Ian Black (July, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-306-82100-4). In what’s sure to be one of the year’s most entertaining political books, John McCain’s daughter (a Republican) and comedian Michael Ian Black (a Democrat) chronicle their summer 2011 cross-country RV tour and the colorful characters they met along the way. According to Da Capo executive editor Ben Schafer, the book shows how “two people—one a 27-year-old conservative television political commentator and daughter of a senator, the other a 40-year-old liberal comedian with a dark streak—can experience the same thing but see something entirely different than the other.” The title is set for a July 4 pub date, with a national marketing campaign that will include an author tour and special retail co-op.
Final Victory: FDR’s Remarkable World War II Presidential Campaign by Stanley Weintraub (July, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-306-82113-4). Noted historian and award-winning author of more than 50 books, Weintraub turns his attention to the spirited wartime presidential campaign of 1944. A campaign so spirited, in fact, that it may have contributed to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s death a few months after his inauguration.
America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t by Stephen Colbert (Oct. 2012, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-446-58397-8). Another candidate for the funniest book—political or otherwise—is this latest lampoon from the Colbert Report host. Given the megasuccess of 2007’s I Am America (and So Can You!)—which spent 26 weeks on PW’s Nonfiction list—the publisher expects this rollicking take on everything from the election system (“our elections are the greatest... unless the wrong people get elected”) to food (“feel free to deep-fry this book. It’s a rich source of fiber”) to be the humor bestseller of the year. Says GCP publisher Jamie Raab, “The consistently high ratings of The Colbert Report tend to soar during election seasons, which bodes well for America Again. Also, the subtitle shows that Colbert really has his finger on the pulse of America as he keys into the major issues. Or, in his own words, he plans to focus on what matters most during an elections season—the things that make America great... and how we can fix them.”
Time to Start Thinking: America in the Age of Descent by Edward Luce (Apr., hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-8021-2021-2). From Atlantic Monthly Press comes a meditation from the chief U.S. columnist for the Financial Times, Edward Luce, on where America stands as it nears the end of Obama’s first term; Luce tackles issues he sees threatening the country’s future without a change in our thinking.
Showdown: The Inside Story of Obama’s Fight to Save His Presidency by David Corn (Mar., hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-0-06-210799-2). Veteran Washington journalist Corn highlights the Obama presidency’s most important and dramatic events, from the mission that killed bin Laden to the tax-break deal and more. Outlining the president’s challenge to save his presidency, the book brings a different perspective just as Obama fights for re-election. Executive editor Henry Ferris says the behind-the-scenes exploration couldn’t be better timed: “David’s book shows why Obama is now in a better position to run against the Congress than he was a year ago.”
We’re with Nobody: Two Insiders Reveal the Dark Side of American Politics by Alan Huffman and Michael Rejebian (Jan., paper, $15.99, ISBN 978-0-06-201577-8) peers behind the curtain at the mysterious, multimillion-dollar business of opposition research—digging up dirt on political opponents—by freelance journalist Huffman and former reporter Rejebian.
Hostile Takeover: Resisting Centralized Government’s Stranglehold on America by Matt Kibbe (June, hardcover, $23.99, ISBN 978-0-06-219601-9). The high-profile leader of FreedomWorks and the coauthor of the bestselling Tea Party manifesto Give Us Liberty argues against centralized government.
Trickle Down Tyranny: Crushing Obama’s Dreams of a Socialist America by Michael Savage (Apr., hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-06-208397-5) is an aggressive call to arms to retake the White House, by the popular radio host and bestselling author of Trickle Up Poverty.
The Faith of Barack Obama: Revised and Updated by Stephen Mansfield (Nov. 2011, paper, $15.99, ISBN 978-1-59555-463-5). In a political climate where religion is a hot topic, the publisher believes this updated version of Mansfield’s analysis of Obama’s faith will be right on time for voters. “This new edition benefits from additional interviews with those close to the president as well as insights based on his years in office,” says Joel Miller, v-p of acquisitions and editorial for Thomas Nelson’s nonfiction trade group. “It’s an eye-opening and inspiring book in many ways.”
No He Can’t: How Barack Obama Is Dismantling Hope and Change by Kevin McCullough (Apr. 2011, hardcover, $19.99, ISBN 978-1-59555-338-6). Originally released last year, this title is being re-emphasized by the publisher in the leadup to the election as “an important tool” for voters.
Is It Dangerous to Be Right When the Government Is Wrong: The Case for Personal Freedom by Judge Andrew P. Napolitano (Oct. 2011, hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-1-59555-350-8). This sixth book on the Constitution and personal freedom by the Fox News analyst and former New Jersey Superior Court judge covers issues voters should consider when making a decision.
Currency Wars: The Making of the Next Global Crisis by James Rickards (Nov. 2011, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-1-59184-449-5). Financier Rickards argues that not just economists and investors but everyone should be concerned about the newest spate of currency wars, projecting the potential for a worse crisis than the decline in 2008.
Princeton Univ. Press
How to Win an Election: An Ancient Guide for Modern Politicians by Quintus Tullius Cicero, trans. by Philip Freeman (Mar., hardcover, $9.95, ISBN 978-0-691-15408-4). It’s time to revisit this classic of political strategy—a lesser-known book in the mold of Machiavelli’s The Prince that has been cited as an influence by such political figures as Karl Rove and former senator Gary Hart. Translator Freeman contributes a new introduction.
Overreach: Leadership in the Obama Presidency by George C. Edwards III (Apr., hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 978-0-691-15368-1). An academic expert in presidential studies and editor of Presidential Studies Quarterly, Edwards lays out his case that President Obama attempted an overly ambitious agenda in the midst of an economic crisis.
A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mother by Janny Scott (Jan., paper, $16, ISBN 978-1-59448-559-6). New York Times reporter Scott chronicles Stanley Ann Dunham’s unconventional life and premature death at 52, just as her son began his first campaign. Illuminating her influence on Obama, the book is now being released in paperback.
Rowman & Littlefield
A Fundamental Freedom: Why Republicans, Conservatives, and Libertarians Should Support Gay Rights by David Lampo (June, hardcover, $19.95, ISBN 978-1-4422-1571-9). Laying out an argument that there is an inherent conflict between many conservative principles, such as prizing personal freedom, and being antigay rights, Lampo calls for the right to embrace a new position for long-term political benefit.
Predicting the Next President: The Keys to the White House, 2012 Edition by Allan J. Lichtman (Jan., paper, $17.95, ISBN 978-1-4422-1211-4). Political analyst and historian Lichtman applies a set of 13 factors, or “keys”—four political, seven performance, and two personality—to every presidential election since 1860. The publisher calls it a must “for political junkies who want to get a head-start on calling Decision 2012.”
Hopelessly Divided: The New Crisis in American Politics and What It Means for 2012 and Beyond by Douglas E. Schoen (Mar., hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-1-4422-1523-8). Schoen takes on the growing gap between the political elite—politicians, lobbyists, consultants—and regular citizens, and how it is driving “our two-party system to the brink of possible collapse.”
The Tyranny of Clichés: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideals by Jonah Goldberg (May, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-59523-086-7) Popular syndicated columnist and National Review contributing editor weighs in with a follow-up to his provocative first book, 2008’s Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning. With a dose of his customary humor, he argues that liberals are ideological and that clichés-become-tenets such as “social justice” deserve closer examination. Sentinel publisher Adrian Zackheim says, “Jonah’s previous book, Liberal Fascism, caused a firestorm of controversy, and we expect a similarly strong reaction to this one. Liberals won’t take kindly to being shown how they rig the war of ideas with mindless slogans.”
Can’t Is Not An Option: My American Story by Nikki Haley (Apr., hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-59523-085-0). The first woman to be governor of South Carolina and only the second South Asian–American to become governor in the country, Haley tells her rousing tale in this memoir about growing up in the state she now leads. An outsider for much of her early life whose family was teased for their differences, this prominent Republican is drawing increased attention on the national stage. “She’s going to be a major player in American politics for a long time to come,” says Zackheim. “Her life story as the daughter of Indian immigrants is inspiring and full of heart.”
Untitled (TBD) by Marco Rubio (Oct. 2012, hardcover, $TBD, ISBN TBD). As yet untitled, a memoir from Tea Party favorite Marco Rubio, the freshman senator from Florida, will be released this fall. A “classic American story,” the book will also lay out a plan for keeping the American Dream alive.
Simon and Schuster
The New, New Deal by Michael Grunwald (Aug., hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-1-4516-4232-2). The award-winning Time senior correspondent scrutinizes the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the president’s agenda on such issues as energy, the economy, health care, and education, asserting that the act is one of the most important legislative actions of the era. The publisher expects this to be a valuable tool for voters looking to assess Obama’s first-term performance. Alice Mayhew, editorial director for Simon and Schuster’s trade imprint, says, “The real story of Obama’s first term is the amount, the enduring quality, and the daringness of the accomplishments in keeping his campaign promises. Grunwald proves they compare favorably with FDR’s New Deal.”
Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer—and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class by Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson (Mar., paper, $15, ISBN 978-1-4165-8870-2). Published last year in hardcover, the paperback edition should attract new readers, with ongoing author appearances planned during the year. Dubbed “A Handbook for Occupy Wall Street,” the authors tackle the mystery of the widening gap between the richest Americans and “the other 99%.”
Barack Obama: The Story by David Maraniss (June, hardcover, $32.50, ISBN 978-1-4391-6040-4). For one of the most anticipated books of the electoral cycle, Maraniss conducted hundreds of interviews, explored letters, journals, and other documents, and traveled the globe to craft the definitive take on Obama’s journey. Much as the author—an associate editor at the Washington Post—did with his earlier biography of Bill Clinton (First in His Class), this book seeks to be nothing less than the definitive biography of the still-young Obama. “There is a lot of discussion among the pundits about which of the Republican candidates has a narrative—a life story,” says Mayhew. “But none can compare to President Obama’s—the most extraordinary story since Abraham Lincoln.” Maraniss’s previous books include the Vince Lombardi biography, When Pride Still Mattered, and a portrait of the Vietnam era, They Marched into Sunlight.
Marco Rubio: A Biography by Manuel Roig-Franzia (July, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-1-4516-7545-0). From a Washington Post Style section writer comes a biography of Florida Senator Rubio, expected to be a name on many people’s lips as a possible GOP running mate. The inspiring American story of this son of Cuban immigrants growing up in Miami and becoming one of the most watched up-and-coming figures on the scene will be of interest to many followers of U.S. politics. Executive editor Priscilla Painton notes, “His story is also a wonderful lesson in the rising influence of Latino voters in American elections.”
The Escape Artists by Noam Scheiber (Feb., hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-1-4391-7240-7). Scheiber, a New Republic senior editor, excavates previously undisclosed documents accompanied by extensive new reporting to highlight “mistakes and missed opportunities” that prevented President Obama’s economic team from getting the economy back on track. Offering an inside glimpse of the inner workings of the administration during a period of crucial decision making, the book reveals how and why the assembled team of “escape artists”—financial experts from the Clinton era—weren’t able to pull off a quick recovery.
The Obama Hate Machine: The Lies, Distortions, and Personal Attacks on the President—And Who Is Behind Them by Bill Press (Jan., hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-0-312-64164-1). Columnist and host of his eponymous Sirius Radio show, Press takes on the false-rumor mill that made assertions that Obama was born in Kenya and a terrorist sympathizer commonplace, and talks about how the agenda behind such falsehoods has derailed issues-driven debate. SMP editor Rob Kirkpatrick says, “Bill has been a rare voice of reason in an increasingly irrational climate of political discourse.” Plans call for a 50,000-copy first printing.
Don’t Let the Republican Drive the Bus! by Erich Origen and Gan Golan (Aug., paper, $14.99, ISBN 978-1-60774-392-7). The authors of the satirical Goodnight Bush (more than 100,000 copies sold) turn their signature brand of political parody to a tale inspired by Mo Willems’s children’s picture book Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! Here a hyperconservative hawk wants to drive the bus—despite a distaste for public transportation. Through a special deal with the printer the authors plan to insert up-to-the-minute information before the book’s release so the title is relevant to the evolving election climate; marketing plans include such giveaways as sticker sheets featuring Republican candidates’ heads. Calling the authors “creative and tireless promoters,” editorial director Julie Bennett says, “Watch for their Republican bird to occupy streets—and Web sites and postcards—across the country in the leadup to the election.”
50 Things Liberals Love to Hate by Mike Gallagher (June, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-1-4516-7925-0). Nationally syndicated talk radio host Gallagher takes a careful look at the liberal psyche, using an ironic and humorous touch to make readers laugh while also considering the issues.
No, They Can’t: Why Government Fails—but Individuals Succeed by John Stossel (Apr., hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-1-4516-4094-6). Bestselling journalist Stossel turns a skeptical eye to the function of government and what it can and can’t do. He brings a libertarian view to the limits of government and to highlighting the capabilities of individuals to solve problems. According to Threshold publisher Louise Burke, “Washington spending is at the heart of the national debate this election season. John Stossel’s contrarian assessments of this and other hot button issues will give voters a vital understanding of why government action should not be presumed as the solution to our country’s problems.”
Univ. of Alabama Press
Transitions: Legal Change, Legal Meanings, edited by Austin Sarat (June, paper, $24.95, ISBN 978-0-8173-5690-3). Sarat, editor or author of more than 70 books on the law and society, collects academic essays that explore how U.S. law transforms during moments of political change, such as elections.