It's not exactly a feeding frenzy, because most of the works seem to be relatively restrained and dignified, but there's no doubt that the current presidential flap has given rise to raised expectations for new books and has inspired others. Two publishers within the Perseus Group, Basic Books and Westview Press, have new offerings: Alan M. Dershowitz, who likes to keep up with things, is offering Sexual McCarthyism: Clinton, Starr and the Emerging Constitutional Crisis. Agent David Hendin, acting on behalf of the book in place of the author's usual agent, Helen Reese, said Dershowitz has collected, updated and annotated some of his writing about the Starr/Lewinsky imbroglio, and that Basic planned to have the book ready before the end of October. Also available very soon -- by October 21 -- will be Westview's offering, The Double-Edged Sword: How Character Makes and Ruins Presidents: From Washington to Clinton, which puts the current debate over impeachment and censure into historical context. The author is Robert Shogan, a political correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, who has covered the Washington political scene for more than 30 years and through seven presidencies; Shogan will discuss how the issue of character has been faced by virtually every American president.
There hasn't been much fiction around That Story yet, but Norton aims to change that with a first novel by Washington journalist Reed Karaim. Karaim, who covered Clinton's 1992 campaign for the Knight-Ridder newspapers and is now a Washington-based freelancer, has written Kingdom of the Wish, the story of a reporter who struggles with a secret he learns about a presidential candidate. "It's not autobiographical, the candidate is not Bill Clinton and the reporter's not me," said Karaim. "But I think the story is relevant to where we are in politics today." Jenny Bent of Washington's Graybill &English agency, Karaim's agent, made the sale to Norton's editor-in-chief, Starling Lawrence, on the basis of a $200,000 preempt for two novels, which will be part of a planned Washington trilogy. Bent said she sent it to 10 publishers, and Lawrence was first to reply, just three days later, with a firm offer designed to remove the competition. Karaim has published short stories and p try and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize; he spent five years on Kingdom and, according to Bent, it shows in the "beautiful writing."