Very proud of my author client Vicki Huddleston—former head of the United States Interests Section in Havana, Cuba, 1999-2002—who has this letter to the editor running in the NY Times today on the Trump administration’s reversal of President Obama’s Cuba policy. Her book, Our Woman in Havana: A US Diplomat’s Inside Account of America’s Long Struggle With Fidel Castro’s Cuba, will be published by Overlook Press in 2018. Here’s the letter, and you can also find it via this link.
As mentioned on the blog last month, on September 19, 2017, St Martin’s Press will publish my agency client Amy Knight’s new book Orders to Kill: The Putin Regime and Political Murder. To date, we have received these five blurbs
1) “Amy Knight is our foremost expert on Russian spycraft. This incisive, deeply researched account of the Kremlin’s murderous dark arts should
be an electrifying wake-up call to the West about the danger we face from Putin’s gangster state.” —Edward Lucas, Senior editor, The Economist
2) “Amy Knight’s Orders to Kill builds a compelling case against the Putin regime for its complicity in the violent deaths of many of its critics—political opponents, muckraking journalists, and reform advocates. It also destroys the myth that we in the West can appease Putin to get him to behave himself.”—Bill Browder, author of Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice
3) “A brave and important book. Amy Knight has an expert understanding of Russia, its spy agencies, and the dark state created by Vladimir Putin and his KGB cronies. Putin’s critics have an uncanny habit of falling dead and Knight tells this story with rare skill. Compelling.”—Luke Harding, author of A Very Expensive Poison: The Murder of Alexander Litvinenko and Russia’s War with the West
4) “Putin’s regime kills. It goes after its enemies at home and abroad and has created the environment in which powerful figures close to the Kremlin can also prosecute their own feuds with impunity. In this powerful and detailed account, Amy Knight tackles a series of individual and collective killings and amasses the evidence, some clear, some circumstantial, connecting them with the Kremlin. Whether you agree or disagree with any of the specific findings, having read this book it is impossible to question the extent to which the Kremlin is not just a kleptocracy, it is a ruthless one, at that.”—Mark Galeotti, author of Vory: The Story of Russian Organized Crime
5) “Orders to Kill focuses unblinkingly on the grim but necessary topic of political murder during the seventeen year Putin period. Amy Knight is a meticulous analyst and is consistently balanced in her judgments. The two chapters on the poisoning through radioactive polonium of former KGB officer Aleksandr Litvinenko in London break significant new ground. Knight demonstrates that the order to commit a number of the political killings she discusses can, with great likelihood, be traced back to President Putin himself or to his powerful Chechen Gauleiter Ramzan Kadyrov.”—John B. Dunlop, author of The Moscow Bombings of September 1999
The photo below, with Putin and Chechen president Kadyrov, is one of more than a dozen pictures in the book. Pre-orders for the book can be placed via this link.
It’s very good to see my literary agency client Vicki Huddleston is quoted in Jon Lee Anderson’s first look at Cuba since the death of Fidel Castro. Ms. Huddleston, whose background includes service as US Ambassador in Mali and Madagascar, worked in US-Cuba relations for almost fifteen years, serving as U.S. charge d’affaires in Cuba during the Clinton Administration, and three years as Chief of the US Interests Section in Havana under George W. Bush, our ambassador there in all but name. Vicki and I were just putting the final touches on the proposal for her book, to be titled Our Woman in Havana, when word came last week of Castro’s death. We’re finalizing it now, and I will begin presenting the book to publishers very soon. Here’s a screenshot of Anderson’s New Yorker article and a link to the whole story, plus a picture of Vicki from her Twitter, where her handle is @vickihuddleston. Watch this space for more info on her book.
In the heat of the just-concluded presidential campaign, I took some time away from this blog to focus on volunteering for Hillary Clinton’s campaign and trying to help her win the presidency. Alas, it didn’t happen. I am saddened and angry at the outcome, but am starting to feel reinvigorated, largely by fear at the prospect of a President Trump. I will be using The Great Gray Bridge to help me push back against him and his administration. I’ve begun today by starting a petition on Change.org, urging my two senators from NY State, Chuck Schumer and Kirstin Gillibrand, to protect the healthcare coverage for millions of Americans, including the expansion for access to Medicaid that we’ve enjoyed the past few years. If you support this view, please sign the petition which you’ll find at this link. Onward, friends.
I believe today is the most I’ve ever felt that I have far, far more on my plate than I can read for work—which is reading and editing book proposals and manuscripts— plus what I feel compelled to read and follow of current events, politics, and news. “What’s going on,” indeed, as the Marvin Gaye song goes. Also, I work on a lot of current affairs and topical nonfiction material, and blog here about the news—if less than usual of late—so all those paths meet and cross in me.
I just finished reading Jane Mayer’s impressive New Yorker article out today, “Donald Trump’s Ghostwriter Tells All,” the inside story of Tony Schwartz, who was hired to write Trump: The Art of the Deal, Trump’s first book, which was published by Random House in 1992. Schwartz massively regrets doing his job too well, by making the putative author much more appealing than he really is. It’s possibly the single most devastating indictment of Trump I’ve read. Period. That’s why I’m sharing it here.
Now back to reading and editing the introduction to a new anthology of horror literature from America’s Colonial times that I’m going to be representing as literary agent. It will feature great authors from the 17th and 18th centuries who wrote then in an emerging horror genre. The subject seems pretty apt for the moment, right?
— Philip Turner (@philipsturner) April 27, 2016
— Philip Turner (@philipsturner) April 27, 2016
As you can see from my tweets, I followed the fate of PA Democrat Senate contender John Fetterman, the Mayor of Braddock, PA, a down-on-its-luck former steel town near Pittsburgh, whom I liked a lot and to whom I sent contributions. He came in third Tuesday night with 20% of the vote (nearly 300,000 votes), where Katie McGinty (43%) and Joe Sestak (33%) came in #1 and #2, but the rest of the story is what I found most telling. Fetterman had endorsed Sanders in January, staking his longshot run on what I’m sure he hoped might be Bernie’s rise in PA, and I don’t doubt, a genuine enthusiasm for Sanders’ candidacy. In turn, I imagine he hoped for an endorsement, shared fundraising, invitations to share the stage at rallies, etc. Instead, he never got so much as a nod or an acknowledgment from Sanders, and in this town hall interview with Chris Hayes the day before the primary it became evident that Sanders didn’t even know who Fetterman was:
HAYES: So there’s — there’s other folks, um, who have been running — talking about some of those same things. Um, you’ve — you’ve endorsed a few of them, raised money for a few of them.
There’s a guy here in — in Pennsylvania named John Fetterman. He’s the mayor of a town named Braddock.
HAYES: I had him on the show, an interesting guy. The town has had a really hard time because of trade, because of the steel industry essentially dying.
He endorsed you. He says he feels basically like he’s a — sitting there without a — with a corsage, waiting for the — (INAUDIBLE) the Sanders mutual endorsement.
SANDERS: Well, I — I honestly don’t know John and I’ve heard just a little bit about him. Um, what we are trying to do now, we have endorsed and gotten some money to some candidates and I hope they win. I just don’t know enough about, uh, John, to be honest with you.
Bernie never lifted a finger for a candidate who would’ve been precisely the sort of peoples’ representative he would need in office were he to actually be elected president. Instead, Fetterman was plainly never on the radar of Sanders or his staff. This is unsurprising, given the narrow focus of the Sanders campaign, but a pity nonetheless.