Building ‘Just World Books’

This is kind of a “what I’ve been doing this summer”. Yes, I have felt intermittently guilty that I haven’t done more JWN blogging. One item in particular I wish I’d blogged about was the passing, last weekend, of Tony Judt. (However, numerous other people have been more eloquent in explaining the depth of the loss that Judt’s passing represents than I could have been. Check these two posts– from Steve Walt and ‘Sepoy’ [Manan Ahmed]– and follow the links in them wherever they lead… )
But… my big news this summer has been that the project that I announced here last April, to found a completely new book-publishing house from scratch and have it release its first titles this autumn is now well on its way to achieving that goal…
Just World Books is getting born!Freeman-book-cover.jpg
Today I sent off to the typesetter the whole interior of Chas Freeman’s beautifully argued book America’s Misadventures in the Middle East: It will be published in late September. (The delay is because we have some fabulous people reading it with a view to providing blurbs/endorsements…. and hey, it’s summer.)
Next up, after Chas’s book, will be Laila El-Haddad’s amazing chronicle of the last four-and-a-half years, Gaza Mom: Palestine, Politics, Parenting, and Everything In Between:
El-Haddad book cover.jpg This one will be out October 14, God willing. Laila is in Gaza with her kids right now, s batch-editing the four Parts of her book– which will have lots of her great photos in it, as well, is a big challenge. But I have what feels like a great team of editors, graphics and layout director, strategic advisers, etc. So I have great confidence we’ll make that deadline.
By the way, a main reason I need to blog this, is that I’m about to start opening the auction for the non-English rights to these works.
If any of you has friends in non-English-language publishing houses who ought to know about these books and JWB’s other titles– write me, and give me their contact details!
… We are, I recognize a little behind in launching the long-promised Just World Books website. But the design firm, Siteshine, has been doing a great job. One delay has been because we’re trying to incorporate as many social-media options into there as possible. Anyway, it looks beautiful; it’s gaining more functionality every day; and y’all will be the first to know when we finally do launch it!
So we’re already making some good plans to launch these first two books. In addition, last night, I got the bulk of the manuscript for Joshua Foust’s book about U.S. policy in Afghanistan, which looks like a really important contribution… Then Reidar Visser’s book about Nuri al-Maliki’s government in Iraq, 2006-2010 should be coming in, in manuscript form, at the end of the month. So the fall publishing schedule will have four really big titles on it. (And yes, your friends in non-English publishing houses can start bidding on those two, too.)
I might also be publishing a little compilation of my own, that would bring a 25th-anniversary reprint of my 1985 book on Lebanon and my 2005 and 2006 articles on Hizbullah, together in one volume. But I’m a little behind on that project.) It might not come out till Spring 2011.
… Being a publisher, it turns out, is a lot like being a mom: A long pregnancy, an even longer period of labor, and finally– one hopes– a successful delivery. It’s also like being a mom because I’m supporting and promoting the work of others, much more than my own; and that feels great.
Actually, I made that point about publishing being a lot like being mom on the new Just World Books Twitter feed. Hey, any of you who are on Twitter, follow Just World Books over there!

4 thoughts on “Building ‘Just World Books’

  1. Jack

    Although this has nothing to do with this post by Helena, I can’t think of where else to put it. For an interesting expose of how the occupation is morally degrading young Israelis, see the article in today’s (8/17) Haaretz about the Israeli soldier posting photos, vaguely reminiscent of the Abu Ghraib USphotos, of herself posing with bound and blindfolded Palestinian prisoners on her Facebook page titled “Best year of my life,” and the follow-up by Breaking the Silence. Of course, you will not see this in the MSM.

  2. David

    Jack,
    I am not sure what you mean “Of course, you will not see this in the MSM.” I read about it in the NYT. I also saw it in numerous on-line mainstream news such as Yahoo.
    I have to wonder by your comment, how big a news story should this be? Should it be bigger than the news story about the Saudi judge who wants to find a hospital to surgically paralyze a man in an eye-for-an-eye judgement? Should it be bigger than the story about the Iranian woman sentenced to be stoned to death?

  3. alexno

    Certainly, it’s a bigger story, David.
    For one thing, it is an event that has actually happened. The other two you cite are scare stories which may or may not happen, but haven’t happened yet.
    The other point is old and well-known, that Israel claims to be a civilised country, and thus can be held to a higher standard of behaviour.

  4. David

    I’m not sure what you mean by “scare stories which may or may not happen.” The judge may not find a hospital to perform the surgery and the woman might not be stoned to death. I didn’t say they had. I was very clear in what I wrote. Please reread.
    Just in case you didn’t understand, Jack made a claim that we would not read about the story he referenced in the mainstream news. But it was in the mainstream news.
    No Jewish conspiracy.

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