In 2014, Steerforth publisher Chip Fleischer wrote in a PW Soapbox piece that “the importance of publishing responsible works that are iconoclastic in their efforts to get at the truth—especially when it’s a truth many people don’t
want to hear—cannot be overstated.” As Steerforth launches its new nonfiction imprint, Truth to Power (T2P), Fleischer’s earlier sentiments couldn’t be more prescient. T2P will publish titles that encourage open dialogue, introduce nuanced perspectives, and challenge mainstream narratives.
T2P publishes books across three series. Sunlight Editions: Books that illuminate ideas to promote greater awareness and understanding of complex social issues. Documentary Narratives: Meticulously researched narratives that upend popular misconceptions and increase awareness about important events and issues. Eyewitness Memoirs: Personal histories and whistleblower narratives that provide a window onto events and conditions of public interest.
The books—published as trade paperbacks, e-books, and audiobooks—inform readers through engaging storytelling, not arguments. Fleischer emphasizes that the imprint doesn’t have a political agenda, but instead “has a radical devotion to the truth... in this context, the ‘power’ would be any societal force or interest group that, intentionally or unintentionally, controls the narrative in ways that prevent people from appreciating a story’s or an issue’s nuances.”
T2P arrives at a timely and critical moment while also speaking to misrepresentations from the past. “The historical lack of perspective and proportion and the outright erasure of certain people and storylines,” Fleischer says, “combined with today’s propensity to twist facts in order to get eyeballs on the screen, generate ad revenue, or control narratives by irresponsibly ‘debunking’ or otherwise marginalizing authors over social media, are driving the imprint.”
In an era of extreme partisan divides, Fleischer understands the importance of long-form narratives with broad-ranging ideas and active critical thinking. Additional titles are forthcoming from Lisa Forbes, a memoirist whose work addresses the topic of mass reincarceration; Diya Abdo, a thought leader on the U.S. refugee experience; and Christopher Finan, a former president of the ABA’s Foundation for Free Speech.
In keeping with the imprint’s unifying design, the front covers of each book will feature the slogan “Truthful Narratives = Better Understanding.” While the imprint’s clear parameters and mission statement make its brand distinctive, its focus on truth-based inquiry, discourse, and free thinking places few restrictions on its content. “This means anything is fair game with respect to subject matter,” Fleischer says. “If the author has a story to tell that is in keeping with our imprint’s mission, and we think there is a sizable audience for it, we would love to help them tell it.”
Titles in the Sunlight Editions series include: Had It Coming: Rape Culture Meets #MeToo: Now What? by Robyn Doolittle; Solemn Reverence: The Separation of Church and State in American Life by Randall Balmer; Prejudential: Black America and the Presidents by Margaret Kimberley; and A True History of the United States: Indigenous Genocide, Racialized Slavery, Hyper-Capitalism, Militarist Imperialism and Other Overlooked Aspects of American Exceptionalism by Daniel A. Sjursen.
Titles included in the Eyewitness Memoirs series are Friendly Fire: How Israel Became Its Own Worst Enemy and the Hope for Its Future by Ami Ayalon; and Toufah: The Woman Who Inspired an African #MeToo Movement by Toufah Jallow.
The Documentary Narratives series features titles such as Hard Driving: The Wendell Scott Story: The American Odyssey of America’s First Black Driver by Brian Donovan; and Ike’s Mystery Man: The Secret Lives of Robert Cutler: The Cold War, the Lavender Scare, and the Untold Story of Eisenhower’s First National Security Advisor by Peter Shinkle.