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Laughing at Cheney, Fighting Hate Talk, Protecting Your Vote: All in AlterNet Books

We have five kickass titles rolling off the presses over the next five months. We intend to rattle a few cages.
 
 
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It may come as a surprise, but AlterNet, in a burst of creative ambition (and perhaps a dose of borderline personality disorder), is diving head first into book publishing. We've all heard how crazy book publishing is, right? Well, we are going to find out very soon. We're thrilled and nervous, and we hope our readers will be excited about what we're offering.

So, why publish books when everyone is getting their information online? Well, exactly. Since over 3 million people visit AlterNet every month, we figure quite an audience is waiting for more good reading.

Plus, the fact is that books still matter. They start conversations, spread good ideas, and get our authors and AlterNet more media coverage. And we've got great writers. The topics worthy of in-depth investigation are pretty endless. Our goal is to take on the problems we face and find the solutions that will work. Every AlterNet book will be accompanied by an online campaign designed to mobilize you -- our readers -- to make change, have your voices heard, and fight back against conservative spin, greedy corporations and the worst guy of all -- Dick Cheney.

So we are leaping into book publishing with a vengeance! We are blasting out five books, starting with Young Dick Cheney: Great American , a wickedly funny faux-biography that recounts little Dick Cheney's youthful lust for guns, oil and the girl of his dreams. Created by satirists Bruce Kluger and David Slavin (National Public Radio, the Huffington Post, Salon.com), Young Dick Cheney is a visual spectacle filled with sidesplitting jokes -- all at the expense of our ever so unpopular vice president. This faux biography reveals the inspiring and sometimes even true story of Richard B. Cheney -- frontiersman, freedom fighter, fatty. The book will crack up right- and left-wingers alike. Well, fine, mostly left-wingers.

Says Lewis Black, comedian/host of Comedy Central's Root Of All Evil:
If you've spent the last eight years gagging on Vice President Cheney and his hijinks, this should take the bad taste out of your mouth.

Arianna Huffington weighs in:
At last, as Bush/Cheney staggers toward its final throes, here comes a book that pries back the door on our secretive vice president and delivers a double-barreled blast of satiric buckshot. I predict Kluger and Slavin will be greeted as liberators!

That's just the beginning -- we'll be churning out books nonstop through September 15!

Coming June 1, and ready for preordering, Shock Jocks: Hate Speech and Talk Radio profiles national radio's most offensive shock jocks and tells why they should be stopped. The highly politicized and often factually challenged world of talk radio dominates a sizable portion of America's airwaves. But the dirty secret of talk radio's success is the use of hate speech masquerading as free speech. Rory O'Connor, veteran media critic and Emmy winner, tackles the "hate talk establishment" and shows how huge media conglomerates not only make hate talk possible but profitable. He profiles the 10 worst offenders, including Don Imus, Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage, and shows how they dangerously blur the distinctions between news, opinion and entertainment. Shock Jocks offers a clear analysis of how hateful sound bites hinder democratic dialogue, affect legislation on important issues, and even exacerbate racist, sexist, homophobic and xenophobic attitudes. O'Connor also chronicles the rising tide of progressive activists challenging right-wing air dominance.

Says Howard Zinn:
Rory O'Connor and Aaron Cutler, in this admirable example of whistleblowing, do for talk radio in our time what Upton Sinclair and George Seldes did for the press in their time. They expose, in devastating detail, how our hallowed right of free speech has been crippled by right-wing domination of the airwaves. They also present alternatives that could restore some semblance of fairness to a marketplace of ideas so far dominated by corporate and military interests.

On June 30, just in time for the November elections, Count My Vote: Getting Your Vote Right for 2008 outlines new voting technology developments and will prepare the voting public to navigate a process that has proved disastrous in the past. Written by AlterNet senior fellow Steven Rosenfeld, an award-winning reporter for NPR and Monitor Radio, Count My Vote is a must-have voting handbook. The book draws on analysis and reports by activists and voters from across America to provide tips on avoiding voting problems in all 50 states, as well as suggestions on what voters can do if they find their vote endangered. Count My Vote empowers voters in the upcoming election by ensuring they are informed and ready to make their vote count!

To be published in late August, Water Consciousness: Everything You Need to Know to Protect the World's Most Precious Resource is a comprehensive, solution-focused guide to the world's greatest environmental crisis. Edited by Tara Lohan, AlterNet's managing editor, and Tony Clarke, author and water expert, Water Consciousness is designed to change the way people think about water. It assembles the leading environmentalists, including Bill McKibben, Vandana Shiva, Maude Barlow, Tony Clarke, Deborah Kaufman, Alan Snitow and Wenonah Hauter, to delve into the crisis and what we can do about it. The book addresses how much water is actually left and where it is, the threat of privatization, the folly of bottled water, the quagmire of dams, the role of agriculture and how the water crisis is linked with global warming.

Water Consciousness also inspires. Authors cover watershed literacy, conservation and efficiency, the role of new technology and design, and the need for policy that protects water for all people as a common trust and not a commodity. It is a book that will change not just your day-to-day activities but your thinking as well.

Available Oct. 1, The Illegal Job Scam: The Truth Behind Immigration Wars (working title) offers a radically different vision of how progressives can approach the stalled immigration debate in America. Cutting through false facts and partisan arguments, The Illegal Job Scam argues that poverty wages and workplaces rife with violations hurt America. Author and AlterNet senior writer Joshua Holland exposes the misleading myths that are derailing the current debate -- from misinformation about how undocumented workers impact public school and healthcare systems, to inaccuracies about immigrants driving down wages. A progressive approach to immigration reform is something most Americans can get behind, argues Holland. An economy that sustains illegal and intolerable jobs disenfranchises all workers -- from undocumented immigrants to Americans. The Illegal Job Scam offers the vital perspective required for a just, intelligent national immigration debate.

Readers should expect a quick, hard-hitting style from us, with books published in rapid-fire order. Each publication will be seamlessly woven into AlterNet's extremely visible online presence and timed at the peak heat of the 2008 political campaign.

By marketing through our highly visited site, advertising widely in blogs and distributing widely to stores -- Amazon, Powell's and the potent indy book market via the Publishers Group West, owned by book powerhouse Perseus -- AlterNet books will be offered directly to our readers!

At AlterNet, we think there is no time like the present to influence the public debate on crucial issues. So we promise to deliver the goods with a range of titles that will make you laugh, bring you to tears and inspire you with new ways to make our society and globe more livable. AlterNet Books gives you more in-depth coverage of the issues that matter!

Don Hazen is the executive editor of AlterNet.

 
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