Tuesday, July 30, 2019

American Nations becomes a Wall Street Journal Bestseller

Last week, my fourth book, American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America, made the Wall Street Journal bestseller list for the first time, eight years after its initial release. For the week ending July 20, it made #7 on the Non-fiction e-book list. (If you don't subscribe, other papers publish this list.)

The book also made #106 on the USA Today Bestseller List for all types of books and editions.

As you will likely surmise, most of the sales were e-books and, since the New York Times doesn't have a category for that, it didn't make the grey lady's lists, alas. (My publisher, at least, requires three national lists before bestowing the title "National Bestseller.")

Thanks to everyone who bought an e-book last week, or any edition at any time really!

Monday, July 22, 2019

Twitter founder Jack Dorsey discovers American Nations

I'm on Twitter quite a lot because, for better or worse, its the news media's nervous system and I'm in the news media. So I was surprised and pleased earlier this month when @Jack himself -- Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of Twitter -- piped up with this:

He probably hasn't seen my response -- I don't have a blue check -- but I said I'd love to do an analytical collaboration using the American Nations model and Twitter data. So, Jack, if you're listening, drop me a DM.

Dorsey's is the third famous person to plug American Nations in a Tweet in recent months, and I suspect this is the only book to receive praise from this particular trio, the other two being Jeff Daniels and Glenn Beck.

Meanwhile, at this writing, Amazon has the Kindle edition of the book on special for $1.99, for those who, unlike me, don't mind reading books on screen.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

How Gov. LePage spent his final year in office

Maine's erstwhile governor, Paul LePage, often tried to keep his travels secret, even taxpayer-funded trips, like his stays at the Trump International Hotel in Washington or his trade mission to Montenegro last summer, which wasn't disclosed to Maine's media until after it was underway.

So as soon as he left office, I requested his entire calendar for 2018 via a public records request. It took four months to get it -- and two more months to secure supporting materials on some of the trips -- so it's only now, a half year into a new administration that the public can learn what previous governors would have told them ahead of time.

A summary of what the documents revealed appeared in yesterday's Portland Press Herald, and is available online here.

For more on how shortcomings with Maine's public records laws allow public officials to thwart transparency, consider this piece from January.