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[Washington Babylon]

Bob Woodward: Political weathervane

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Bob Woodward is planning a fourth book on the Bush Administration to be published later this year, Editor & Publisher reported today. Woodward declined to discuss the contents of the upcoming project, telling E&P, “The book will be out later this year and it will speak for itself.”

Woodward’s previous three books on the Bush years closely tracked public opinion in their portrayal of the administration. Hence, Bush at War, which came out in 2002 when the president was riding high in the polls, was hugely fawning; Plan of Attack from 2004 was less sympathetic but still quite favorable; and State of Denial, published during the dog days of 2006, was by far the most critical. But the next one is a mystery. As E&P put it, “With the current mix of strong public sentiment against the Iraq War, but some tangible progress since ‘the surge,’ the tone of the next book remains a mystery.”

Incidentally, reading this reminds me of an interesting story about Woodward I read in Can’t Find My Way Home: America in the Great Stoned Age, by Martin Torgoff. Torgoff recounts how Judy Belushi encouraged friends to cooperate with Woodward when he was writing Wired: The Short Life and Fast Times of John Belushi, but that many were furious after the book came out. Penny Marshall is reported to have said that the book was so factually inaccurate, “It makes you think that Richard Nixon may have been innocent.”

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