Another Independent Commission-Penned Bestseller

December 6, 2006 | 4 books mentioned 2

coverThe long-awaited Iraq Study Group Report has been making headlines for months as Americans, weary of the war and our continuing struggles in Iraq, look for some fresh angles on this seemingly intractable mess. It should come as no surprise then that the book version of the report, which hit stores today, is shaping up to be a bestseller, as the Amazon ranking makes clear (and as has been discussed in a couple of wire stories today).

In this respect, it follows in the footsteps another report by an independent bipartisan group that turned out to be a hit in stores, The 9/11 Commission Report, which was deemed sufficiently well-crafted to be named a National Book Award finalist. Not only that, a Graphic Adaptation of the book was created as well. The (salacious) granddaddy of this genre, of course, was the Starr Report, which sold approximately one million copies in book form but is now more or less out of print. (It will interesting to see if the two books mentioned above are still in print eight years from now. I suspect they will be.)

Americans are often derided here and abroad for not being readers and for being disengaged with current events, but I think the success of these books goes a long way toward suggesting otherwise.

Update: If you’d prefer to read the whole Iraq Study Group Report online (or print off a copy) you can get it at the United States Institute of Peace Web site, where, according to a Washington Post article (which has a lot of great tidbits about the report and how popular its been bookstores) “400,000 people downloaded the report within hours” of its release.

created and edits The Millions. He is co-editor of the collection of essays The Late American Novel: Writers on the Future of Books, called "funny, poignant, relentlessly thought-provoking" by The Atlantic. He and his family live in New Jersey. If you'd like to correspond, please don't hesitate to email.

2 comments:

  1. This is a really interesting release and I'm sure will find itself a major player in the field of books covering war criticsm and analysis.

    Do we know if the introduction covers the nature of the study, the group composition, and / or a bit of discussion about the political system (Checks and Balances) that it is a part of? McGrrrr

  2. There doesn't appear to be an introduction to the book, but I'd imagine that some light digging through some newspaper sites/political blogs will yield plenty of articles providing context.

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