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I was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator and am now a journalist. I am the author of three New York Times bestselling books -- "How Would a Patriot Act" (a critique of Bush executive power theories), "Tragic Legacy" (documenting the Bush legacy), and With Liberty and Justice for Some (critiquing America's two-tiered justice system and the collapse of the rule of law for its political and financial elites). My fifth book - No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance State - will be released on April 29, 2014 by Holt/Metropolitan.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Good book news

(updated below)

We were notified last night that How Would a Patriot Act? has made the New York Times' Best Sellers List, and will debut at #11 this upcoming Sunday on June 11, on the Paperback Nonfiction List. The NYT has sent us the actual page (.pdf) as it will appear in the printed edition.

This is obviously going to be a huge factor in raising the book's visibility and enabling the arguments and issues raised by the book to reach a much wider audience. As we have discussed on this blog for months and months, the reason why the Bush administration's extremist theories of power and its systematic lawbreaking have not provoked greater controversy among Americans is because the national media has simply failed in its most basic duty to inform Americans about what its government is doing.

With rare exception (e.g., Charlie Savage at The Boston Globe), there has been virtually no discussion of what is clearly the most significant crisis our country faces -- the fact that we have a president who has claimed unlimited powers, including the right to break the law. I genuinely believe that once Americans are truly aware of how radical this administration is, and how contrary to the most core American values its views and actions are, that will have a meaningful effect on public opinion. A desire to find a way to bring these issues to light in order to help contribute to that outcome is why I wrote the book, and the NYT listing, in many ways, will obviously be very useful in pursuing those objectives.

It's a particularly noteworthy development because the book has not yet arrived in many, perhaps most, bookstores; it has not been reviewed in a single major newspaper or magazine; and the book tour hasn't even begun yet. All of that should change now, and as the book receives even the standard amount of attention received by any garden-variety book released by a corporate publisher, that should only raise the book's visibility that much more.

Finally, Jane Hamsher has been hosting a superb Book Club at FireDogLake. The selected book for last Sunday and this upcoming Sunday is How Would a Patriot Act? The discussion last week was thought-provoking and was attended by numerous people who had clearly read the book and had all sorts of things to say about its content. Now that many more people have received and had a chance to read the book, the discussion this Sunday - at 5:00 pm EST -- should be even better. I will attend and participate and hope that as many people as possible who have read the book will, too.

UPDATE: I've corrected the error I made above -- the book will debut on the list in the printed edition of the NYT on June 11, not this upcoming Sunday. Working Assets has uploaded a .pdf here of the best seller page sent by the NYT which will be published on June 11. Thank you to everyone who sent e-mails about the .pdf conversion. It sounded easy enough for me to think I could have actually managed it, but fortunately, Working Assets' posting has made it unnecessary for me to try.

Aside from the effect the book can have on bringing to light the Bush administration's lawless radicalism, I also hope -- and believe -- that it will contribute to the rising influence of the blogosphere. The more blogosphere products are successful and reach into mainstream circles, the harder it will be to stigmatize blogs and be dismissive of their quality and influence -- and the more opportunities there will be for bloggers to be heard beyond the blogosphere. That, in turn, will only elevate the profile of the blogosphere. The attempt to depict bloggers as crazed, fact-free rabble is based on pure myth -- it is a transparent demonization campaign by those who are threatened by the blogosphere -- and the more bloggers are seen and heard from, the harder it will be to sustain those distortions.

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