This Goes Out to the Underground: A Mother, Her Daughter, and How We All Rise Together, the debut memoir from Pardis Mahdavi, has been abruptly canceled by its publisher, Hachette Book Group. The book had been slated for July 26. Mahdavi is an American scholar who has just taken over as provost and executive v-p at the University of Montana.
Jess Regel of Helm Literary, who is Mahdavi's agent, said that This Goes Out to the Underground had been cancelled due to "personal safety reasons." According to NetGalley, the book is described as a "searingly honest memoir" that tells "the true story of how [Mahdavi] utilized illicit trade networks to smuggle herself across the globe and save her daughter—and ignited a feminist movement." When Mahdavi's two-year-old daughter goes missing, she seeks help from the man who had been her jailer in Iran four years earlier.
Michelle Aielli, v-p and associate publisher at Hachette, declined to elaborate, saying only that the book was canceled "at the author's request."
This Goes Out to the Underground was mentioned in a February PW feature about faith-based books and, more recently, was reviewed by Library Journal and highlighted by Ms. Magazine. As late as July 25, Instagram book influencers were actively promoting the book and sharing images of their advance reader copies, and Goodreads users were leaving reviews of the book. However, the webpage for the book on the Hachette website has since been taken down and links to purchase the book through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, and other retailers no longer work.
On July 20, Publishers Marketplace announced that Mahdavi had inked a deal with Hachette for Book of Queens: The True Story of the Middle Eastern Horsewomen Who Fought the War on Terror, described as "the untold story of Middle Eastern freedom fighters—horsewomen who safeguarded an ancient breed of Caspian horse—and their efforts to help themselves and defend their homelands from the Taliban through combat, ally training, and counterintelligence."
It will be edited by Hachette associate editor Mollie Weisenfeld, who said in a tweet about the book deal that she was "thrilled to work with the incredible [Mahdavi] again." (On March 31, Weisenfeld tweeted about This Goes Out to the Underground, encouraging preorders and sharing blurbs from such writers as Jonathan Lethem, who said he was "floored" by the memoir.)
Book of Queens will now be Mahdavi's debut non-academic book.