When Politics Was Everything

The great 2004 renaissance for political books is over, but authors and editors are finding new hooks and ways into the subject. Salon's Eric Boehlert, one of the more vocal critics of the Bush administration during election season last year, is doing his first book, a title that manages the Huffingtonian trick of turning on both the watchdog and what he's supposed to be watching.

The book, sold to the Free Press, is described as a "blistering account of how the media has failed to do its job" in covering Bush II, though of course it's implicitly also a blistering account of the prez. (Lapdogs: How the Press Laid Down for the Bush White House is the tentative title.)

Boehlert writes frequently about the connection between politics and media; lately he's been flogging the press for its (non)coverage of the Downing Street Memo. And talk about regime change. Back in the day—that is, when Free Press was an Adam Bellow stronghold—you couldn't get a left-leaning title there for all the oil in the Alaskan tundra. Now it's looking more like the New Press: the house helped spark sales for what would become last year's trend of administration-ambivalent books when it published Richard Clarke's Against All Enemies. Ed director Dominick Anfuso made the Boehlert buy from Richard Abate at ICM.

Of course politics isn't limited to nonfiction. Just ask Houghton's Jane Rosenman, who's signed up, via Tim Seldes, Porter Shreve's novel that may tap into White House angst. The title alone, When the White House Was Ours, brilliantly positions it for Dems, though the story line isn't what you'd expect: it describes not the '90s but "Democratic idealism before Ronald Reagan rode into town" — and is about the Carter White House.

A New Rose Garden

Incoming Penguin Press editor Inigo Thomas is wasting no time, nabbing Brit journalist Christopher de Bellaigue from Harper for his next book, about Kurdistan. De Bellaigue's first, the Iran memoir In The Rose Garden of the Martyrs,was a critical favorite when it came out from Harper earlier this year but reportedly sold less than 10,000 copies. David Godwin repped.

The Briefing

Sun-Tzu expert—and Ming Dynasty descendant—Chin-Ning Chu has sold The Art of War for Women, an updating of the Sun Tzu classic for women. Doubleday Currency will pub, Roger Scholl will edit, Anna Ghosh handled the pre-empt…Shaye Areheart has scooped up two books from Jan Goldstein, the first of which is titled The Prince of Nantucket, via Linda Chester . Politics? It's about "a charismatic senatorial candidate who uncovers family secrets that alter his perceptions and, in turn, his relationships with the women in his life."