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The Making of Anatomy of Deceit

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As I write this, on the other side of Ann Arbor (where I'm located), Anatomy of Deceit is being printed. Since we don't have the actual book out yet, Jane suggested I use this opportunity to describe how my blogging on the Plame story got turned into a book. True to Jane and Markos' vision for Vaster Books, this one really did grow organically out of the blogosphere.

Three times over the course of the Plame Story, I've written recap posts to capture everything we knew–or thought we knew–about the case. I've always found that such narratives help me understand the big picture of the story. I did one in July 2005, not long after I got hooked on the story and first met Jane Hamsher in Plame threads at Daily Kos. I did another in early October 2005, as we were all waiting impatiently for indictments. By the time I started the third of these posts last May, I had a series. A long series.

That's when I realized I might have a book.  

I might not have done anything about my long-post-that-might-be-a-book if I hadn't gone to Vegas for YearlyKos right in the middle of the series. Many of you know that part of the story–meeting Joe Wilson, the CIA Leak panel, the Firedoglake Caucus. What you didn't see, though, is that one night over dinner, I sheepishly mentioned to Jane that I might have a book.

I guess I don't have to explain that Jane has a way of making things happen.  

We didn't really get started until September–and didn't really get started until October. At which point we did what–I've been told–they did with Crashing the Gates and How Would a Patriot Act. I camped out in San Francisco working with Safir Ahmed, the editor, working long hours writing and editing and revising all at the same time. Somewhere in the middle of this process, I had a day-job business trip to Asia that included getting diverted by a typhoon, sleeping on the floor of the Nagoya, Japan airport, and getting hit by a motorcycle messenger in Bangkok. Suffice it to say this period is a bit of a blur. But as part of that blur, Safir patiently dragged me out of the weeds in which I occasionally (ha!) get lost, and turned it into a book accessible–and, hopefully, interesting–to people who haven't been wallowing in this story for the last two years. What a luxury to have an editor! 

Over the course of the editing process, we eliminated or defined a lot of the legal and bloggy jargon (don't worry–we kept "cocktail weenies"!). We included the background of the intelligence claims they used to "justify" the war and profiles of the key players. Where I'd use a link in the blogosphere I used a footnote in the book; I also snuck a lot of my favorite weedy details into the footnotes.

Through it all, we tried to recreate the process many of us went through as we followed this story, slowly peeling an onion to discover layer after layer of details about the case. Hopefully, after reading it people will be better prepared to see Patrick Fitzgerald peel still more layers away over the course of the Scooter Libby trial.

One more thing made this book possible: the involvement of Will Rockafellow, who is doing much of the work to make Vaster Books a reality. Markos and Jane literally formed Vaster Books right in the middle of this process (in fact, I think it happened while I was on that trip to Asia. though that detail, too, is kind of a blur). As a result, a lot of things that would have been done much earlier in the process happened as we went along, and for a while the whole project operated on a great leap of faith. Will came on in the middle of the process and really delivered on that collective leap of faith. Sort of what you'd expect from the blogosphere, I guess, but it doesn't diminish the feat! Thanks, too, to copyeditor Evan Camfield and proofreader Emily DeHuff for working some tough hours to meet our crazy deadlines.

And before you ask, I'll answer one question many people asked in the thread at Daily Kos. The graphic artist who did the cover is Josh Michels–and yes, I love the ominous feel of it! My very favorite aspect of the cover, though, is that if you look very closely, you can see a certain Vice President's manic scribblings–the newsprint is actually Dick's copy of Joe Wilson's op-ed.

All of which brings us to where we are now. Over the next two weeks the book will ship from the printers and the trial will begin. Jane and Christy and I (and others) will continue peeling the onion with what we learn in the trial. We may not, yet, get to the core of the rotting onion that is the Bush Administration, but this book is an attempt to help us all keep peeling away.

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The Making of Anatomy of Deceit

anatomy_of_deceit_72color_21.jpg

As I write this, on the other side of Ann Arbor (where I'm located), Anatomy of Deceit is being printed. Since we don't have the actual book out yet, Jane suggested I use this opportunity to describe how my blogging on the Plame story got turned into a book. True to Jane and Markos' vision for Vaster Books, this one really did grow organically out of the blogosphere.

Three times over the course of the Plame Story, I've written recap posts to capture everything we knew–or thought we knew–about the case. I've always found that such narratives help me understand the big picture of the story. I did one in July 2005, not long after I got hooked on the story and first met Jane Hamsher in Plame threads at Daily Kos. I did another in early October 2005, as we were all waiting impatiently for indictments. By the time I started the third of these posts last May, I had a series. A long series.

That's when I realized I might have a book.  

I might not have done anything about my long-post-that-might-be-a-book if I hadn't gone to Vegas for YearlyKos right in the middle of (more…)

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