Posts from April 2011
Posted by Carole Stuart on April 25, 2011
We will continue to offer our particular style of edgy books – many of them true crime; others are memoirs or books that inform, that make a difference. Here is the background on one of them.
When we published HONOR BETRAYED –Sexual Abuse in America’s Military by Dr. Mic Hunter I thought – and still think – it was one of the most important books we’ve had on our list in recent years. It talks candidly about an issue that has been largely ignored but deserves attention. I expected a lot of media coverage about how military personnel, male, female, gay, people of color - are mistreated. The subject and the book persist, as the author tells us. This is how Mic came to write it:
“The year was 2005 when I got a phone call: ‘You’ve written all these books on sexual abuse, when are you going to write one on the sexual abuse that takes place in the military?’ I was completely ignorant about this and concluded if I hadn’t read about it, maybe there was no problem.
Curious, I began to look for information. I like to have first person accounts in my books rather than just report the findings of research. But, never having sserved in the military, I wondered if veterans would trust me with their stories? I anticipated getting nowhere when I revealed I was a civilian. I was completely wrong.
I sent out a few e-mails and posted notices on military related websites. Almost immediately, I started getting phone calls and e-mails. Sure enough, the interaction began with the question, ‘In what branch of the military did you serve?’” Much to my surprise, when I revealed I had no military experience, every single person had the same response: ‘Good, I was afraid you’d be military, and then you wouldn’t believe what I’m about to tell you.’ In many cases the women and men who sent me their stories included medical records or other evidence to back up what they had shared with me.
Now, with first person accounts, I began my research into what had already been written on the subject and was shocked by what I found; I became whole heartedly committed to seeing that the American people learn about what had been perpetrated on some of our troops.
For the first time in my writing career I contacted a literary agent, He was impressed with the information and was convinced he would have a publisher on board quickly. After submitting a finished manuscript to more than 100 publishers, they all turned it down; believing that sexual abuse in the military is so rare the topic doesn’t warrant a book
My research from the Department of Defense showed double-digit abuse rates. But those that would acknowledge the abuse claimed that military personnel are not seriously harmed. If that was true why did Veteran Administration hospitals have units dedicated to the treatment of military personnel who had suffered serious emotional damage as a result of being sexually abused?
I had been through this process before in 1989 when I was seeking a publisher for my book, Abused Boys: The Neglected Victims Of Sexual Abuse. At that time, I was told that boys don’t get sexually abused and even if they did, it wouldn’t hurt them, at least not in the ways girls are affected. Of course, now it is common knowledge that boys can be, and are, abused, and that it damages them.
Finally, Carole Stuart at Barricade Books, decided to take on the project. Once the book was printed I reached out to both the print and broadcast media. After having been interviewed hundreds of times, I was confident that I would have no trouble finding reporters to cover a story that could lead to our troops getting better treatment. I was interviewed but when it came time for the material to be printed or broadcast, the story was cut, - “The topic isn’t news worthy.”
I sent copies of the book to those in Congress who have direct responsibility for veteran’s affairs and the Department of Defense, but only one even acknowledged receiving it.
Despite the lack of attention from the media and elected officials, I keep getting letters and e-mails from those who suffered the abuse… thanking me for writing it and letting me know how important it has been in reducing the shame and isolation that comes from thinking ‘I was the only one this happened to.’
Here’s where the “better late than never” part comes in.
Recently, a few stories on sexual abuse in the military have appeared, which gives me hope. Hope that those veterans whose injuries, both physical and psychological, resulted from sexual abuse will be treated with the respect and concern we show veterans wounded by the enemy.
My publisher had a request for the book from The Oprah Radio network. A long article about sexual abuse in the military recently appeared in Newsweek on line by Jesse Ellison titled “The Military’s Secret Shame” that made reference to Honor Betrayed: Sexual Abuse In America’s Military. And just a few days ago, an order for a large number of copies came to the publisher from Pakistan.
Twenty years after it was first published Abused Boys is still in print because the conditions that foster child sexual abuse have not been adequately addressed. I fear that twenty years from now our society will not have adequately addressed the conditions that permit, and even encourage, the sexual mistreatment of the most important part of our military-those who volunteer to serve. No author wants to be ahead of the curve but if Honor Betrayed is finally getting noticed, I’ll be content that my book is making a difference.
When I see bumper stickers that exclaim, “Support our troops;” I think, what could be more supportive than seeing to it that they aren’t sexually abused by fellow Americans?
NO GET OUT OF JAIL CARD IN THIS MONOPOLY GAME
As most readers of Hot News know, we publish many True Crime books. Recently, the contents of one were used as an attempt to appeal a prison sentence.
JAILING THE JOHNSTON GANG: Bringing Serial Murders to Justice by Bruce Mowday is the story of the dedicated law enforcement team that brought to justice, Norman, David and Bruce Johnston – serial murderers. They had their particularly style: when they couldn’t intimidate witnesses to their crimes, they murdered them.
As reported in the Pennsylvania press recently, two surviving members of the notorious gang, tried to use the book as evidence for a new trial but Judge Howard Riley of the Chester County Court rejected the bid by the surviving brothers, David and Norman Johnston. They had petitioned the court after reading Mowday’s book. The judge ruled that the evidence was already available to them at their trial. Sometimes things turn out as they should. They will remain in prison – serving life sentences.
Mowday has a new book coming soon – Richie Ashburn, WHY THE HALL NOT? The Amazing Journey to Cooperstown. It’s the story of Richie Ashburn, the much-loved Phillies’ baseball hero who was overlooked by baseball’s Hall of Fame. That all changed when co-author, Jim Donahue, was a boy. Jim met Ashburn and the player signed a ball for him. – Years later, Jim mounted a campaign and gathered nearly 200,000 signatures on a petition to get Richie Ashburn into baseball’s Hall of Fame. It’s a heartwarming story. Look for it this summer.
NORMAN CORWIN – Another Play Opens
I have to share the latest news about Norman Corwin. Now a very active Centenarian, he has a play that will be on soon. TOGETHER TONIGHT: Hamilton-Jefferson-Burr will be presented in classic radio drama style on May 7th at the Beverly Garland Holiday Inn Little Theater in North Hollywood, California. The play is a conversation between the scrappy Aaron Burr, elitist Alexander Hamilton and the down-to-earth Thomas Jefferson. The meeting, did not actually happen but Norman created the piece using the characters’ own words, taken from their writings and speeches.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Over the many years I’ve been in publishing, first at Lyle Stuart, Inc. and now at Barricade Books we’ve had many talented young people working with us. Some were employees, others interns. Most are still talking to us! They’ve gone on in most cases, to other publishing jobs. Some are freelancers and continue to work for us as independent providers. They are all flourishing. I asked them to tell me about their lives now. Here, are a few of the people who made up the staffs of Lyle Stuart, Inc and Barricade Books.
Steven Brower is a designer who was the art director at Lyle Stuart, Inc. Steve grew and blossomed and is remarkably multi-talented.
He works in many mediums: He is writing and designing books of his own. These include “Satchmo: The Wonderful World and Art of Louis Armstrong,” “From Shadow to Light: The Life & Art of Mort Meskin,”and “Breathless Homicidal Slime Mutants: The Art of the Paperback” Steve won the National Magazine Award twice for General Excellence, and achieved Gold and Silver at the Society of Publication Designers during his tenure as Art Director/Creative Director at PRINT magazine. Steve’s next book will be on Duke Ellington. He’s working with Ellington’s granddaughter, Mercedes Ellington. Rizzoli will publish so you know it’ll be fabulous to look at as well as to read. If he ever gets Barney Rosset to let go of his memoir (he’s been working on it for twenty years) Steve will design it. Steve has a solo exhibit of his design work at the Art Institute-Inland Empire in San Bernardino, CA that is on through mid-May.
Amy Packard got her start in publishing as an intern for us in 1996. When she left Barricade Books in 2000 she was Publicity Director. Amy relocated to San Francisco in 2001. After a yearlong stint at a PR firm, she went back to her love of books and found a job working as the Publicity Director for a small, political, non-profit publisher called Encounter Books. She was with Encounter Books for four years then moved on to the San Francisco office of John Wiley & Sons publishers. Since 2006 Amy has been working primarily for the Jossey-Bass imprint of Wiley as the Publicity Manager focusing mostly on Leadership and Management titles. Over the years, she has worked with some high profile clients and authors including Ed Koch, Mr. T, Victor Davis Hanson, Patrick Lencioni, and Kouzes & Posner. Amy married a handsome, Italian man from Verona in 2007 and they currently reside in Oakland, CA with their cat Peanut.
Until next time
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