25 June 2008

No Krak For Any Price

My book club recently met to discuss Jon Krakauer's book UNDER THE BANNER OF HEAVEN, a work of nonfiction that impressed me both when I read it the first time and when I skimmed it to prepare for our meeting. I actually just wrote a preview piece for the fall in which I expressed a deep interest in Krakauer's next book, THE HERO, about Pat Tillman's death in Iraq and the fallout over it.

Well, I'm still interested, but it looks like I'll have to wait for now because Krakauer has "withdrawn the title" less than four months from its publication date. The Publishers Weekly account (disclaimer: I write for them) suggests he is so unhappy with the book that he's willing to tick off his publisher, Doubleday, by forcing them to cancel all their plans for it. This is the first time I've heard of such a "withdrawal," perhaps because publishers would rather we don't find out about the things they can't for whatever reason sell. But no way would they have been able to sneak it under the rug given Krakauer's many fans (like me).

Of course, since the book is about the war in Iraq there will be some speculation over whether political motives are forcing Krakauer's hand, but I can't find anything to suggest that its status has anything to do with his charged subject. From what I've read, Tillman's family cooperated with Krakauer, but the Army Rangers (the division in which Tillman served) did not.

In any case, I'm with The Egalitarian Bookworm:
I fully expect Jon Krakauer to do justice to this fascinating guy who died far too young, and also to do a different kind of justice to the insidious forces that kept the truth from Americans.

1 comment:

Jess said...

That's so interesting! And also, it might be a brilliant publicity stunt, because when it DOES come out, everyone will want to know what it says!