October 24, 2019
Anonymous Trump critic to publish book; secrecy abounds in unusual arrangement
by Mike Lindgren
Remember way back in that innocent time of September 2018, when an unidentified Trump administration official published a New York Times op-ed titled “I Am Part of the Resistance”? Does that not seem like it happened several lifetimes ago? Over here in the 201, we feel like it belongs in dusty history textbooks, already. But as if to prove … something, the brave person behind this plangent cri de coeur of yore has now written his or her own book! Titled A Warning, the secretive scribe’s titanic tome will be published in November by fancy-shmancy Hachette imprint Twelve.
Although the Washington Post notes solemnly that “there is no modern historical parallel for a firsthand account of a sitting president written in book form by an anonymous author,” it sure feels to us like we’ve been around this block before. Could it be that with actual ambassadors testifying before the House under their full and given names, the idea of an anonymous author divulging secrets of the administration feels rather … quaint? There’s also something a little off-key about agent Matt Latimer’s claim that although “the author could have received a seven-figure advance for writing this book,” it “was not written for financial reasons. The author sees this as an act of conscience and duty.” Because when we think of literary agents, the first words that come to mind are “conscience and duty,” for sure!
To be perfectly candid, we recall being a little less than bowled over by the original op-ed anyway. The writer was careful to distance him or herself (or themself, who knows?) from “the popular ‘resistance'”—we can almost see the air quotes!—”of the left,” and hailed the president for the “bright spots … of effective deregulation, historic tax reform, a more robust military and more.” Yeesh! Not our resistance, to be sure. But more to the point, what’s with the year-plus-long lag between the original op-ed and the book? Over here on John Street, we consider that publishing schedule positively glacial! We’d be happy to offer our confreres over there in midtown some tips on how to turbocharge their production process … but we suspect that they’ve got other things on their minds. Oh well!
Michael Lindgren is the Managing Editor at Melville House.