Allen West Joins the Ranks of Fantastic Political Authors

“Guardian of the Republic” has one of the best book covers a politician could hope for. But there are others out there.

National Journal
Matt Vasilogambros and Matt Berman
Nov. 12, 2013, 10:38 a.m.

You can’t al­ways tell a book by its cov­er, but you can oc­ca­sion­ally tell a politi­cian by his or her book. Former House mem­ber and samurai Al­len West is com­ing out with a book next April that sets a new gold stand­ard for book cov­ers. The “Amer­ic­an Ron­in’s” book comes com­plete with a screech­ing bald eagle bike decal and the kind of bom­bast­ic title that we’ve come to ex­pect from our polit­ic­al class.

The full cov­er is here:

West is far from the first to try and make a splash with a cov­er. Here are some re­cent high­lights.

Me­dia per­son­al­ity, former vice pres­id­en­tial can­did­ate and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Pal­in is an ex­pert at the book cov­er. She adds a good mix­ture of poses, subtle cloth­ing, and Amer­ica-themed jew­elry in both of her books. And worry not, politi­cians think­ing about writ­ing a mem­oir in the fu­ture, you can mix it up by either look­ing straight at the cam­era — as in Amer­ica By Heartor look to the dis­tance with a touch of hope in your eyes — as in Go­ing Rogue.

Now, if you’re as out­land­ish and cha­ris­mat­ic as former God­fath­er’s Pizza CEO and Re­pub­lic­an pres­id­en­tial can­did­ate Her­man Cain, you can get away with a book cov­er that lit­er­ally screams at the read­er. Use an ex­clam­a­tion point in the book title! (This is Her­man Cain!) And why stop there? Put an in­her­ently false state­ment in the sub­title, like for in­stance, My Jour­ney to the White House.

For­get the pla­gi­ar­ized ma­ter­i­als in­side the cov­ers. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., presents an out­stand­ing first look in his mem­oir. So, you made it to polit­ic­al of­fice in Wash­ing­ton? Show the world and stand in front of your place of work. (He even stands on the cor­rect side of the Cap­it­ol.) Spruce it up with a catchy and poin­ted title: Gov­ern­ment Bul­lies. Now, if the words just wer­en’t hit­ting the read­er with enough oomph, give the title a good font that says, “Too much gov­ern­ment will bring the end to Amer­ica as we know it.” Only one tiny prob­lem: When you cross your arms like that, it’s kind of dif­fi­cult for the read­er to know who the bully is.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., put to­geth­er a nice pack­age of self-im­port­ance with his The Speech back in March 2011. The book it­self is just a pub­lished copy of a eight-and-a-half-hour floor speech Sanders gave in Decem­ber 2010. But the gran­di­osely simple title and the “his­tor­ic fili­buster” claim (des­pite that fact that, as Sanders has ac­know­ledged, the speech wasn’t tech­nic­ally a fili­buster) dress up the 128-pager quite nicely.

And then there’s the fath­er-son Jack­son duo’s 1999 book, not to be out­done by, really, any­body. This is maybe the most un­for­tu­nately titled polit­ic­al book of the past two dec­ades. Jesse Jack­son Jr. is cur­rently serving a pris­on sen­tence, and, as The Chica­go Tribune wrote in Feb­ru­ary, really didn’t listen to the ad­vice of his own book.

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