A Partisan Books Editor Places a Bet on Balance

Mr. Bellow played a role in widening the ideological divisions he today maintains he wants to bridge. At Broadside, which he founded in 2010, he edited partisan books by Donald Rumsfeld in addition to Ted Cruz. He helped fuel the right’s attacks on Hillary Clinton as a corrupt career politician, with works like Daniel Halper’s “Clinton, Inc.” in addition to Peter Schweizer’s “Clinton Cash.”

“I plead guilty,” he said. “If the idea’s true of which our public culture has become overly polarized in addition to people no longer argue in a respectful way with one another, I’m sure I had something to do with of which.”

At his brand-new imprint, unsubtly named All Points Books, he is usually attempting a more ecumenical approach. from the past few months, he has acquired an ideologically eclectic mix of titles, including “Billionaire at the Barricades” by the conservative talk-radio host Laura Ingraham, which will explore populist revolts of which gave rise to Ronald Reagan in addition to Donald J. Trump; however also a memoir by Representative Seth Moulton, Democratic of Massachusetts, in addition to another by the journalist Robby Soave about millennial activists.

Mr. Bellow, who is usually the son of Saul Bellow, in addition to whose immaculately spare office features a prominently displayed pulpy paperback edition of his father’s novel “The Adventures of Augie March,” also hopes to edit a range of political fiction, coming from Tom Clancy-like thrillers to novels from the mold of Curtis Sittenfeld’s “American Wife.”

Breaking out of a polarized media ecosystem won’t be easy. Mr. Bellow wants to carve out territory in an increasingly fragmented marketplace, where publishers spend tens of millions of dollars in heated auctions for books by prominent politicians in addition to pundits. from the months after the election, publishers have made big acquisitions, signing up books by the CNN host Van Jones, the political journalists Mark Halperin in addition to John Heilemann, in addition to the Obamas in addition to the Bidens.

Photo

Mr. Bellow in his Manhattan office.

Credit
Guerin Blask for The brand-new York Times

in addition to without the Clintons in addition to Obamas as fresh targets, the opportunity for political in addition to polemical books seems to be more on the left than the right.

Mr. Bellow’s reputation might make the idea hard for him to recruit liberal writers to his list. In recent months, he has aggressively pursued prominent writers on the left — “I won’t name names,” he said — in addition to lost out to editors at various other houses. “He’s a known commodity in conservative circles,” said the literary agent Keith Urbahn, “however he’s going to have to introduce himself to the various other side.”

Mr. Bellow has spent most of his life surrounded by people with opposing views. Growing up on the Upper West Side, he absorbed the liberal politics of his family, friends in addition to peers, in addition to joined antiwar marches. He majored in comparative literature at Princeton, in addition to took graduate courses in history in addition to political thought at Columbia, however he decided he wasn’t cut out for academia. By then, he was starting to rebel against his liberal upbringing, in addition to found his views more in line with the right on issues like the Cold War in addition to the Iran-contra scandal.

In 1987, Erwin Glikes, then publisher of the Free Press, hired Mr. Bellow as an editor in addition to tasked him with finding the next generation of young conservative thinkers. During Mr. Bellow’s time there, the Free Press, which has since shut down, evolved into a rowdy, energetic place of which published writers of all political stripes, who would certainly often attack one another’s ideas in person in addition to in print. “the idea was like a high level intellectual food fight,” he said.

Eventually, the publishing industry caught on to the commercial potential of the conservative market, in addition to many publishers created separate imprints for right-wing authors.

As a business strategy, the idea worked beautifully, particularly when Democrats were in power in addition to Republicans felt like underdogs. Last fall, from the final weeks of the presidential campaign, the best-seller lists were stacked with anti-Clinton titles by Mr. D’Souza, Michael Savage, Edward Klein in addition to Gary J. Byrne. Last year, Mr. Byrne’s anti-Clinton book, “Crisis of Character,” released in June, sold around 250,000 copies, in addition to Mr. D’Souza’s book “Hillary’s America” sold more than 0,000 copies.

Mr. Bellow said of which he began to feel conservative imprints were becoming “more celebrity- in addition to platform-driven in addition to less concerned with ideas.”

Some are skeptical of which the partisan publishing type needs reformation. “I’m a believer of which the best way to serve books of a particular viewpoint, particularly on the right, is usually to publish a focused list of which’s committed to one side or the various other,” said Adrian Zackheim, the publisher of Sentinel, a conservative imprint at Penguin Random House.

Still, there may be a growing appetite among readers for less partisan books of which explain the economic, social in addition to cultural realities shaping our politics, in addition to upending old ideological alignments. Just after the November election, readers flocked to books like Arlie Russell Hochschild’s “Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger in addition to Mourning on the American Right” in addition to J. D. Vance’s “Hillbilly Elegy” to understand the political revolution few saw coming. “Hillbilly Elegy” has sold more than 1.1 million copies.

Mr. Bellow has no intention of toning down the views of hard-liners he edits or retreating to a kind of “mushy centrism,” he said. He delights in courting controversy. He said of which he was open to editing books by members of the newly invigorated nationalist in addition to populist wing of the Republican Party, though he plans to proceed cautiously, particularly after the controversy of which engulfed Simon & Schuster when the idea bought (in addition to subsequently canceled) a book by the right-wing writer Milo Yiannopoulos. (Mr. Bellow read the proposal for Mr. Yiannopoulos’s book when the idea first circulated, however didn’t bid on the idea, he said.)

Whether political adversaries will come together under his editorial aegis remains to be seen. “In of which time of polarization in addition to mutual dislike in addition to suspicion, there will be people who don’t want to be published on the same list as Laura Ingraham,” he said.

Continue reading the main story

Source link

Leave a Reply