Hi! I just wanted to give you an update on the book. We already had a publisher: the wonderful boutique publishing house Farrar Straus & Giroux. We already have the book turned in: looks like it'll probably weigh in at about 250 pages. Not only will it include the cartoon blog that I file from Afghanistan, but lots of analysis in straightforward writing form, and also a lot of other cartoons, including a graphic novel version of the history of the US occupation of Afghanistan from 2001 to the present. We also have a publication date: fall 2013. More details to follow on that.
We also have a title. Drumroll please…
After We Kill You, We Will Welcome You Back as an Honored Guest: Unembedded in Afghanistan
The title is a direct quote from a member of the Taliban whom I met in August 2010 in central Afghanistan. I thought it perfectly encapsulated the Afghan attitude, and indeed the attitude of all occupied peoples to their oppressors: unlike what neo-colonialists like the US government think, this isn't personal. They just want us to leave them alone and stop stealing their resources. As soon as we do, we will be able to return in peace, as tourists do every day to Vietnam.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts about the title. Although quite frankly if it sucks there's not really anything we can do anymore.
Hi! Just wanted to give you a situation update report about the book for Farrar Strauss & Giroux. There have been delays, but I have some good news to report: I just turned in the last 30 pages of the first draft to the publisher. So, even if I get myself killed drinking while celebrating, this book will come out in the fall of 2013.
There were a number of reasons for the delay, but the main one was a personnel change at the publisher. My previous editor left, and there was a period during which I wasn't even sure that I still had a deal. Fortunately, another editor took a strong interest in it and will shepherd it all the way through to its conclusion. I am absolutely convinced that the result will be a classy, attractive, and most of all informative look at how US foreign policy goes wrong, and specifically how our experience in Afghanistan is a case study in misbegotten adventurism.
Thank you so much for your patience, and obviously for your support. At this point, I am looking forward to the next project, and may return to Kickstarter to ask for support concerning a collection of editorial cartoons. It has been a long time since I published a collection of them, and these days that there is really no way to do it other than to self-publish. Hope you're having a great fall.
Hi! Just wanted to let you know what's up with the book.There was a change in personnel at Farrar, Straus and Giroux that caused some delays over there, but now things are settled and the Afghanistan book is scheduled for publication in Spring 2013. I've already turned in the material—cartoons, text, tons of photos—and now they need to edit them and design it. FSG is a careful publisher and whatever they come up with will likely look attractive, but design takes time. So what's next?
Well, I have a new book coming out May 22 called The Book of Obama: From Hope and Change to the Age of Revolt. Including cartoons as well as prose, it argues that Obama was the best president this system could have allowed to come to power, and that the fact that he was so disappointing exposed the fact that the system, not the personality of a president, was the real problem. This led to the Tea Party and Occupy movements, the latter of which understood that politics occurs in the streets, not the ballot box.
I'll be touring for that book, beginning in the Pacific Northwest, in early June. Tour dates are at my website.
Next I hope to begin work on a book titled "Congratulations! You Have Overthrown the Government of the United States of America," which will take a granular, day-by-day look at what the revolutionaries of the future will need to do in order to consolidate power and begin a new government.
I am also working on a super-secret new media project that I will probably bring to Kickstarter later this year.
In terms of travel, I would very much like to visit areas under revolutionary control, such as the Maoist-controlled areas of Nepal and the Niger Delta rebels, to put together an analysis of what revolution looks like on the ground in the 21st century. I would not be shocked if civil conflict were to erupt in Libya; if so that would be a possible subject of a comix journalism piece.
Thanks for your support and feel free to get in touch.
Just an update about the status of the Afghanistan book.
Hill& Wang, a subsidiary of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, is trying to decide whether to release the book in late 2012 or spring 2013. Their books are highly designed and very beautiful, which can lead to long lead times before publication. In addition, the coming 2012 presidential election has them considering the possibility of publishing a collection of my cartoons and prose about the Obama years next year, as an introduction to FSG, with the Afghanistan book following shortly on its heels.
As for the book itself, it is near completion on my end. I am finishing up a graphic novella-formatted history of the Afghanistan War from 2001 to present (a break from the usual "let's start with Alexander the Great and wind up with the Soviet withdrawal, plus Americans!" approach. And I have a bunch of edits to do to the prose. But the book is finished enough that, if I died today, FSG could put it out today.
After I finish the Afghanistan book (in a month or two), I will turn my attention to a political book, a follow-up to my Anti-American Manifesto that describes what kind of transition could and should follow the overthrow of the U.S. government—a topic which the rise of the Occupy movement has made more relevant.
Feel free to get or stay in touch, and thanks again for your support!
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