Encountering an Eddie Ellis Tribute to New York City in NYC

I was delighted to bump in to this quotation from my longtime author Edward Robb Ellis on a digital kiosk on Broadway the other night. All my blog posts about Eddie Ellis are collected here on this site.

RIP for Sam Schulman, the Last US Sailor from the Exodus 1947

My longtime author, humanitarian and photojournalist Ruth Gruber (1911-2016) has been gone a few years, but I still have a Google an alert for her name. I was glad via the alert to get a heads-up about the passing of Sam Schulman, the last surviving US crewman to have sailed on the ship Exodus 1947, the fate of whose human cargo Ruth chronicled for American and international newspapers in the fateful summer of 1947. The obit I first linked to on Facebook, and again here was written by his son Mark Schulman.

Here’s a moving video with Mr Schulman:

“The Mueller Report,” a Published Book Now Landing in Bookstores

A fascinating report by PW’s editor Jim Milliot from booksellers in the field on the editions of The Mueller Report now coming out. Scribner, Melville House, and Skyhorse had each announced print/ebook versions during the many months leading up to the report’s intensely anticipated release. Because they were only finally able to get their hands on the manuscript last Thursday—when corrupt Attorney General Barr finally deigned to let it be published—it’s been very challenging for them to get the book in to stores. Of the three I’ve only seen Scribner’s in a store so far. I found it it in a B&N yesterday, a big fat trade paperback printed on not-great paper with a white cover. I intend to buy the one coming from Melville House, which according to the article should be in stores Monday. It will be close to a mass-market size paperback. I’ve been following a multi-day thread live-tweeting the design, typesetting, and production of the Melville House edition by co-publisher Dennis Johnson (a great follow on Twitter, @mobylives), which he began writing last week as he and colleagues received the text in PDF and embarked on making it in to their distinctive rendition of of this vital document, an imperative book, indeed.

The Skyhorse edition may have begun landing in stores, but I haven’t seen it yet. That edition displays a questionable choice for Introducer: the odious Alan Dershowitz, frequent Trump partisan and FOX News regular. An ill-advised choice when you consider that FOX News viewers, even ones fervently appreciative of Dershowitz’s rhetorical support of the dangerous prez are not apt to buy a copy of The Mueller Report at all. They tell themselves and each other that the Trump-Russia connections are all made up anyway. Those FOX people would buy a report on Hillary Clinton, but that’s definitely not what we have here.

OTOH, the great majority of people buying the Mueller Report in book form are going to be critics of Trump who’ve been following #TrumpRussia avidly for more than two years; folks who detest Trump and want to see the end of his presidency will be apt to want either the Scribner edition, with commentary by Post reporters, or an edition that has nothing but the text of Mueller’s report, intelligently designed and typeset for an optimal reading experience, the Melville House edition. Why would they want to buy an edition with Dershowitz’s questionable gloss on it—a very-likely-to-be-tendentious view of events apt to let Trump off the hook despite his egregious misdeeds and transgressions? Indeed, there’s a funny line in the penultimate graf of Milliot’s story:

James Fugate, co-owner of Eso Wan Books in Los Angeles, also believes the report will sell very well. “There is huge demand for this book, and I have at least 10 preorders for this,” he said. “We ordered 50 each of the Scribner edition and the Melville House. I won’t touch the Skyhorse edition with the Dershowitz introduction.


Bonnard at the Tate in London

Visiting Britain, Feb 19-April 1—Books, Brexit, and Beyond

As I recently posted on Facebook, I’m excited that my wife, Kyle Gallup, a painter, has been invited to do an artist’s residency in London for the month of March. The sponsor is the long-established British paint company Winsor & Newton. They’ve selected a British painter, and an American, Kyle, and are providing them with art materials and studios in the same building as where their paint chemists work. They want the two sides, chemists and artists, to interact with each other, and thus improve the formulation of their new line of cadmium-free watercolors. A lovely idea, really.

I am taking the opportunity to travel with Kyle, which will also allow me to attend the London Book Fair March 12-14, for which I’ve made appointments to meet with British publishers and literary agents. We are flying to Scotland tomorrow where we’ll visit friends for a few days, then begin journeying through the North of England till we reach London on March 1. I plan to write for this blog and in my social networks about being in Britain as Brexit looms. My reading material will include Underland: A Deep Time Journey by a favorite British author Robert Macfarlane, being published in the US in June by W.W. Norton. I’ve loved earlier books by Macfarlane, including The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot and Mountains of the Mind: A History of a Fascination. I’m confident that reading Underland while touring Britain and staying a month in London will be a tonic regardless of the news in the UK and from the US.

“Shattered Minds: How the Pentagon Fails Our Troops with Faulty Helmets,” Publishing March 1

I’m excited that Shattered Minds: How the Pentagon Fails Our Troops with Faulty Helmets will be published by Potomac Books on March 1, 2019. In 2016, I wrote about research in to new materials that could improve the safety features of military helmets. And as I explained in a 2018 blog post, I originally commissioned the book in 2008 when I was acquiring new titles for Union Square Press. After I left that job, the contract was canceled, and almost a decade later I ended up as the agent for the book, placing it with Potomac Books last year. A circuitous path, indeed. Below are the superb pre-publication blurbs the book by Robert H. Baumann and Dina Rasor has received. I’m delighted to see this early reception for the book.

Advance Praise for SHATTERED MINDS:
How the Pentagon Fails Our Troops with Faulty Helmets

“No one is better than Dina Rasor and Bob Bauman in connecting the intricacies of the Pentagon’s politics of budget-and-bureaucracy with real world consequences for the men and women who wear United States uniforms and fight the nation’s wars. Their latest project gives the startling details of how the bureaucracy has failed in providing that most basic part of a soldier’s protective gear, the helmet. Dina’s and Bob’s previous work has been highly influential, and this should be too.”—James Fallows, National Correspondent, Atlantic Magazine

“Dina Rasor and Robert Bauman are some of the most experienced and tenacious advocates in America. Year after year, Dina and Bob have been sounding the alarm and demanding accountability on behalf of our troops and veterans. They have changed policies and helped save lives. And they always have our back. Dina’s and Bob’s critical voices must be heard—now more than ever.”—Paul Rieckhoff, CEO and founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and author of Chasing Ghosts

“Robert Bauman’s and Dina Rasor’s richly detailed account of how military bureaucrats and greedy contractors have callously risked the lives and health of soldiers and marines for the sake of their own selfish interests is both riveting and horrifying.  We are used to learning about multi-billion dollar defense procurement scandals, but that our military leadership could not, or would not, provide troops on the front lines with something as basic as an effective helmet is truly shocking.  Shattered Minds should be required reading for congress, press, and concerned citizens everywhere.”—Andrew Cockburn, Washington Editor, Harpers Magazine

“Rasor and Bauman weave together the gripping stories of individuals who were all determined to provide a helmet that would better protect our troops from traumatic brain injury. If you really want to ‘Support the troops,’ read this book.”—Danielle Brian, Executive Director, Project on Government Oversight (POGO)

“You go to war with the helmet you have, not the one you wish you had. With apologies to Don Rumsfeld, that is the sad tale Robert Bauman and Dina Rasor tell in Shattered Minds. It’s the infuriating story of how a sclerotic U.S. military bureaucracy has failed to protect young troops from traumatic brain injury after they answered their nation’s call in the wake of 9/11. For anyone who has ever worn a U.S. military helmet, or loved someone who has, this book will hurt your head. For the rest of us, it’s a traumatic heart injury.”—Mark Thompson, former Time Magazine reporter