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Posts Tagged ‘Crown’

When the Name Game Goes on Overload

The New York Times’ Maria Aspan highlights what can sometimes be a problem for published or would-be writers: a common name. Take Robert Frank, a reporter who covers private wealth for The Wall Street Journal, and Robert H. Frank, an economist and professor at Cornell University. Both of them have written books dealing with the culture of wealth in the United States (Frank no-initial’s book comes out from Crown in June, while Frank-initial’s book will be published in July by the University of California Press.)

Both writers, who are telephone acquaintances, sounded more amused than annoyed by the coincidental timing. “If Robert Frank comes out with a book on economic inequality, it’s going to be confusing,” said Professor Frank, who said that people occasionally mistake him for the journalist. But, he added, the other Robert Frank “is entitled to his name and any subject he wants to write about.” Mr. Frank’s regard for the professor goes beyond just his name. “I’m a huge admirer of his work. I’ve read and loved every book that he’s written,” he said. “He’s a renowned and respected and highly trained economist, and I’m a mere journalist.” He admires the man so much he’s already provided a blurb. “I think his book is great and I hope people buy it.”

Plame Memoir Blocked by CIA?

Former CIA agent Valerie Plame‘s book deal followed a torturous path; first she was signed up by Crown last May, but contract issues – namely, nervousness that Plame wouldn’t be allowed by the CIA to talk about the juiciest details – canned the deal, and Plame eventually landed at original underbidder Simon & Schuster. And there the story ended…until now.

Newsweek reports that the CIA Publications Review Board, which must clear writings by former employees, has effectively blocked her from even mentioning that she worked for the CIA because she served as a “nonofficial cover” officer (or NOC) posing as a private businesswoman, according to an adviser to Plame, who asked not to be identified discussing a sensitive issue. “She believes this will effectively gut the book,” said the adviser. Plame has hired a lawyer to challenge the Review Board’s ruling, and CIA spokesman Mark Mansfield said the panel was still having “ongoing” talks to resolve the dispute.

In other words, Plame’s book deal has come full circle, and publication plans by S&S may be scuttled for the exact same reasons Crown declined to publish. Which leaves two questions: what took so long for the CIA to make its decision, and how did S&S think that the ruling – no matter how long it took – would go in Plame’s favor?