Galley Girl: The Bradys' Bill

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DeWayne Wickham

Bill Clinton is making himself a fixture on Manhattan's publishing scene. And why not? Knopf is paying Clinton more than $10 million for the rights to his autobiography, due next year. It is believed to be the biggest nonfiction deal of all time. A few weeks ago, we spotted him at the Studio Museum in Harlem at the launch party for "Bill Clinton and Black America" by DeWayne Wickham (One World/Ballantine). And on Tuesday night, we watched him hosting a party for Sarah Brady, the author, with Merrill McLoughlin, of "A Good Fight" (PublicAffairs; April 2). The scene in the Blue Smoke's Jazz Standard Club was pure Arkansas: dark and smoky, with such down-home dishes as BBQ pork and giant onion rings, beer and seemingly lax security. Jim Brady, Sarah Brady's husband, sat out in the audience in his wheelchair, eating ribs. Brady had been incapacitated in the 1981 assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan. Following that, Sarah became a leading gun-control advocate.

Clinton took the stage, to great applause. "I love Sarah and Jim Brady," he said. "Their story is a story of laughter, love and courage. I have extolled Jim Brady's virtues in a disgusting manner for years. These people have lived with pressure for 20 years, and they keep showing up. The least we can do is support them. Countless numbers of people are alive because of the Brady Bill. They have endured so much abuse. They fight after everything they have given to their country." Afterwards, we asked Clinton how his book is coming. "I'm having a great time, but it's difficult," he replied. "You decide what you believe and then you check your memory."


Publishers Marketplace says that current interest in nannies may extend to "The Mommy Diaries," a humorous non-fiction account of the first-hand experiences of the woman who started one of the first nanny agencies in the U.S. in 1983. Mommy better hurry up: "The Nanny Diaries" (St. Martin's) is No. 4 on the 4/7 fiction list after three weeks.


Kirkus applauds "The Emperor of Ocean Park," the much-buzzed-about first novel of Yale law professor Stephen L. Carter (Knopf), giving it a rhapsodic starred review. "This sleek, immensely readable first novel by Yale law professor Carter, author of such provocative nonfiction as 'The Culture of Disbelief' and 'God's Name in Vain,' is custom-designed for the kind of commercial success enjoyed by John Grisham's 'The Firm' 11 years ago...a melodrama with brains and heart to match its killer plot." First printing of 500,000.


TIME reporter Mitch Frank has written the forthcoming "Understanding September 11th: Answering Questions About the Attacks on America" (Viking Children's Books; August 5; hardcover and paperback), for young people ages 12 and up. According to his publisher, the book will be "written on a level that sixth graders and up can easily comprehend and filled with pictures, maps, and straightforward explanations. This is the book that will enable young people to understand both the events of 9/11 and the history leading up to it."


Fox News faceliftee Greta Van Susteren will be writing a book for Crown. Her co-writer is former TIME correspondent Elaine Lafferty, now a reporter for the Irish Times.


Don't be left behind. "The Remnant," the tenth book in the Number 1 best-selling apocalyptic fiction series by authors Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, will be published on July 2 by Tyndale, a major Christian publisher. That fact won't be lost upon anyone who reads PW. Tyndale bought five full pages in PW, including the cover, to advertise the book. The series has sold over 50 million copies.


Early this summer, the Free Press will publish a collection of slain journalist Daniel Pearl's writings, to be introduced by his widow Mariane, and to contain tributes from his WSJ colleagues. Profits from the book will be donated to a trust for Pearl's widow and child.


Metrobooks/Friedman Fairfax has published "World Trade Center" by Peter Skinner (April), an unusually attractive coffee table book that memorializes the Twin Towers — not only through its content but also in its tall and narrow shape.


In the public arena, there's Jesse Helms, Jesse Ventura, and of course, Jesse Jackson. There's likely to be more discussion about the latter Jesse if best-selling right-wing publisher Regnery has anything to do with it. Regnery's "Shakedown: Exposing the Real Jesse Jackson" by Kenneth R. Timmerman will be No. 5 on the 4/7 NYT nonfiction list. There are already 200,000 copies in print.


On March 4, McGraw-Hill published "The Leadership Secrets of Colin Powell" by University of San Francisco professor Oren Harari. In April, the same publisher will publish "The Rumsfeld Way: Leadership Wisdom of a Battle-Hardened Maverick" by Jeffrey Krames. Can "The Rice Rules" be far behind?


Sen. Bill Frist, aka Dr. Frist, has written a guide to coping with bioterrorism, entitled "When Every Moment Counts: What You Need to Know About Bioterrorism from the Senate's Only Doctor" (Rowman & Littlefield). Curiously, the one-page ad in this week's PW neglects to say when the book, which is blurbed by everyone from Sen. Edward Kennedy to Bono, is actually coming out. Also, there is no indication whether or not the proceeds are being given to charity. But diet doc Dean Ornish sure likes it: "If you buy only one book this year, this should be it." The book comes with photographs of various symptoms. Not to be read at dinner time.


Another Ivy Leaguer, Professor Randall Kennedy of Harvard Law School, knew that he was taking a chance by giving his book such a controversial title. But his gamble has paid off, says PW. There are over 70,000 copies of "Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word" (Pantheon) in print, and it has appeared on various best-seller lists, including the NYT nonfiction list at No. 8. The book is No. 18 on the extended 4/7 NYT nonfiction list.


In June, the New Press will publish "Muckraking! The Journalism that Changed America" by Judith and William Serrin. Kirkus dives right in, giving the book a starred review. "A dazzling collection of some of the most significant examples of U.S. investigative journalism of the past 250 years...Wholly absorbing, intensely illuminating."