On Wednesday, the 72-year-old Washington author William Blum existed only on the fringes of the publishing industry. His 2000 foreign-policy diatribe, "Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower," ranked No. 205,763 on Amazon's bestseller list. His byline rarely appeared in print, he says, because even left-leaning journals like the Nation often found his views too radical.Technorati Tags: Osama Bin Laden, Rogue State
But then the world's No. 1 newsmaker, bin Laden, showed up Thursday on the Al-Jazeera network to promise another terrorist attack on America, ask President Bush to withdraw American troops -- and plug Blum's book. "If Bush decides to carry on with his lies and oppression," the reclusive terrorist announced, in a video message bounced to a potential audience of billions, "it would be useful for you to read the book 'Rogue State'."
By Friday morning, "Rogue State" was ranked No. 35 on Amazon, just behind Harry Potter and just ahead of Strunk & White. At home, in his small Connecticut Avenue apartment, Blum was delighted to learn from a reporter news about his newfound profitability. "Oh my God," the author exclaimed, wearing his morning slippers as he scribbled the Amazon statistics on a pad of paper. "I must tell my publisher."
Friday, January 20, 2006