Battle of the Bestsellers

Coming soon are books from all three of Washington’s top nonfiction writers: Thomas Friedman, Bob Woodward, and Ron Suskind.

Friedman’s new book, Hot, Flat, and Crowded, builds on his global 2005 bestseller, The World Is Flat; there are 3 million copies of that book in print. The new book examines globalization in light of the looming energy and population crises.

Woodward and Suskind will focus on what has become their bread and butter during the George Bush years: the war on terror. Both men are edited by Alice Mayhew at Simon & Schuster, who 30 years ago brought out the classic All the President’s Men. The two writers will have published seven books in the last five years on the United States and al Qaeda—Woodward’s still-untitled September book will be his fourth; Suskind’s, The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism, will be his third.

At times, the two journalists have reported contrary versions of the same story: The scene in Woodward’s 2004 book, Plan of Attack, where George Tenet tells Bush that Iraq’s WMD program is a “slam dunk” is disputed in Suskind’s 2006 book, The One Percent Doctrine.

How do their hardcover sales stack up? Woodward is still tops, according to Nielsen Bookscan.

Woodward: State of Denial: Bush at War, Part III: 528,000 copies

Suskind: The One Percent Doctrine: Deep Inside America’s Pursuit of Its Enemies Since 9/11: 116,000 copies

Woodward: Bush at War: 513,000 copies

Suskind: The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O’Neill: 179,000 copies

This article first appeared in the August 2008 issue of The Washingtonian. For more articles like it, click here

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