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Friday, May 12, 2006

Bloggers writing books

The Chronicle has a big story on How would a Patriot Act by Glen Greenwald:

Several bloggers have cranked out books, but a first-time San Francisco publisher, with assistance from liberal bloggers, helped push one from obscurity to the No. 1 spot on Amazon's best-seller charts in a day -- even before advance copies were printed.

Written by lawyer-turned-blogger Glenn Greenwald, the rise of "How Would a Patriot Act: Defending America from a President Run Amok" is a San Francisco-forged tale of new media leading the old, in which a video created to accompany the book was out before the bound copies, and the video's circulation turned out to be more valuable than kudos from book critics. (See the video.) [...]

The book's rise without any mainstream media coverage has given liberal political leaders hope that they have discovered a way to compete with conservative media outlets that they estimate reach 30 million to 40 million people a week. That's at least three times the reach of progressive outlets such as the Air America radio network and liberal bloggers, said Simon Rosenberg, head of the New Democratic Network, a liberal think tank focused on new technology.

Rosenberg hopes it's the start of a liberal counterbalance to major conservative book clubs, whose combined membership of 100,000 regularly pushes books up the charts through presale orders. Still, he said, progressives have a long way to go before they can compete with nationally syndicated radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly, the right-of-center bent at Fox News and commentator Michelle Malkin, whose blog is consistently among the top-ranked by, which monitors the blogosphere.

Greenwald isn't the only blogger with a hit book. David Sirota's Hostile Takeover is making a big splash:

"This book raises important questions about our country's political system, questions that both parties must confront. Hostile Takeover makes a strong case that American democracy is under attack. Every politically engaged citizen who wants to know what challenges we face and how we can rebuild our country's democracy should read this book." - Al Gore, former Vice President of the United States

"Here are the horrifying facts about how our government works today - and for whom it works - delivered in a tone of outrage that is not only merited but appropriate. Read it and scream." - Thomas Frank, author of What's the Matter with Kansas?

"Hostile Takeover is a blunt, two-fisted attack that pulls back the covers on the cozy canoodling between corporations and our government. Sirota ferociously indicts politicians of both political parties for their shameless peddling of corporate PR and, in doing so, provides an indispensable guide to decoding the lies, red herrings, and propaganda of big business and its bought-and-paid-for mouthpieces on Capitol Hill." - Arianna Huffington, author of Pigs at the Trough

"Here is a precious handbook for citizens living in the country of anger and disgust, written by a very smart, tough-minded young guerrilla who intends to overturn the politics owned by corporate power. Read it and you will no longer feel powerless. You may begin to believe it's possible for the people to reclaim their democracy. You may even decide to join the fight." - William Greider, author of Who Will Tell the People and correspondent for The Nation

"Hostile Takeover is not for the Powers That Be, but for the Powers That Ought to Be - the ordinary grassroots people of our country. Use this book as a lesson plan and action plan for taking our government back." - Jim Hightower, author of Thieves in High Places

"David Sirota is a genuine American hero: he speaks the truth - forcefully, courageously, straightforwardly - with no apologies, and with thorough documentation. Hostile Takeover is about the theft of American democracy, the surreptitious transfer of governing power itself from an accountable, elected government to big corporations accountable only to profits. This book is an invaluable guide to how the hostile takeover of our government affects you, and what you can do about it." - George Lakoff, author of Don't Think of an Elephant!

And Crashing the Gate was a huge success. I highly recommend all three, but even more importantly I recommend reading the liberal blogs every day.

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