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Bush under attack barrage of books

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Bush under attack by a barrage of books
By Bob Minzesheimer, USA TODAY
When White House spokesman Scott McClellan was asked about The Price of Loyalty, the best seller about former treasury secretary Paul O'Neill's disillusionment with the Bush administration, he replied, "I don't do book reviews."

Craig Unger's House of Bush, House of Saud is just one of a flood of books critical of the president.

If he did, it would be a full-time job. The Price of Loyalty is part of a wave of books bashing Bush.

In the first half of 2004, major commercial publishers will publish at least 25 books critical of Bush. Some may add to the criticism about his decision to go to war in Iraq. Among the titles:

* House of Bush, House of Saud by Craig Unger, who promises to document how financial and personal ties between the Bush family and the Saudi royal family affects U.S. foreign policy (March).

* Against All Enemies: Inside the White House's War on Terror by former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke, who joins O'Neill as the second Bush insider to break ranks with his former boss (March).

* Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush by John Dean, President Nixon's counsel (April).

* Bush on the Couch by psychoanalyst Justin Frank, who diagnoses Bush as a rigid thinker with a simplistic worldview (May).

* Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War on Terror by "Anonymous," a member of U.S. intelligence community (May).

Also out this month: Fraud: The Strategy Behind the Bush Lies and Why the Media Didn't Tell Youby Paul Waldman and The Book on Bush: How George W. (Mis)leads America by Eric Alterman and Mark Green.

Former president Bill Clinton used to be fodder for best-selling conservative authors. Now, the only two political books on USA TODAY's Best-Selling Books list are critical of Bush: The Price of Loyalty (No. 24) and Kevin Phillips' American Dynasty (No. 40).

Nation Books' Neil Ortenberg, who published Jack Humberman's The Bush-Hater's Handbook last month, traces the trend to the popularity of paperbacks such as Vincent Bugliosi's Betrayal of America that "hit on issues of the day Bush's stolen election, America's infatuation with military might in a condensed and incendiary fashion." When larger publishers saw their success, "the floodgates opened."

But Adrian Zackheim, publisher of Sentinel, a conservative imprint at Penguin, says it's timing rather than a shift to the left by readers. With the Democratic primaries dominating political news, "it's not the best time to publish a book supportive of an incumbent president."

Out this week: John Podhoretz's Bush Country: How Dubya Became a Great President While Driving Liberals Insane and Sean Hannity's Deliver Us From Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism and Liberalism.

In September, Sentinel publishes Ronald Kessler's A Matter of Character: Inside the White House of George W. Bush. It's touted as "contrarian" because it praises Bush.

WND Books plans an August book by David Bossie, a former Republican congressional aide, promising "all the dirt on the 2004 Democratic nominee for president whoever that may be."

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