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University of Virginia Press is proud to take part in University Press Week's blog tour, an excellent tradition that reveals the great variety of work published by university presses and provides a unique round-robin reading experience. We encourage you to read each press's contribution (complete links below). Today's theme is Politics.
One of UVA Press's biggest successes of 2018 was Michael Nelson's book Trump's First Year. The book was a spinoff of Crucible: The President's First Year, a collaboration with the Miller Center Center for Public Affairs that sought to examine previous presidents' first years in office in relation to a number of themes (foreign policy, defense, economy, etc.). Growing out of a project completed in 2016, the goal was to provide insight for the incoming president—whoever he or she may be. We know now who the winner turned out to be. During the assembly of Crucible, coeditor Michael Nelson, a presidential scholar from Rhodes University, floated the idea that he would like to write a first-year book devoted to the newly elected president, Donald Trump. Can you write about Trump's first year as it's happening? we asked him—and deliver the manuscript in time for us to publish on the first anniversary of the inauguration? Mike said he could do it.
In a feat that is a tribute to our production and editorial departments almost as much as the author himself, the book indeed shipped in time to be in stores as Trump delivered his State of the Union address. Robust sales ensued; applause from the Independent, Guardian, Kirkus, Washington Post, et al. And then Mike turned to us and said he would like to do it again for year number two...
And so Trump's First Year will morph into Trump: The First Two Years, a book coming down so close to the wire it does not even have a cover yet. The new Trump book will feature the complete contents of the previous volume and add to that a substantial new chapter on Trump in 2018. The great quality of Trump's First Year was its objecivity: while strongly critical of the new president, the book was nearly unique in its refusal to editorailize from either the right or the left. Asked what the general thrust of this new chapter would be a couple months ago, when he was still in the thick of composition, Mike said he continued to see Trump as an only erratically successful engineer of the machinations of governing—and this would be reflected in the new chapter—but that a significant trend of the second year was Trump's ability to redefine the GOP. If the first year had seen resistance to Trump not only from the left but from his own party (e.g., John McCain's thumbs-down to the Obamacare repeal on the Senate floor), in year two Nelson has seen the GOP gradually give in to a president that is plainly popular with their constituents. Last week's midterms seemed to bear this out. While there was a blue wave of a kind, with Dems taking the House, many voters on the right doubled down—contributing to a record turnout for a midterm election.
Nelson's undertaking is unlike any other, a book that grows with a presidency as it unfolds, year by year. It's been an honor for us at UVA Press to help bring this book onto the scene, to witness what a dedicated author and university press can add to a story that has enraged, in some cases inspired, or just plain befuddled so many.
This is the second day of the University Press Week blog tour, which will continue throughout the week. Today, University of Chicago Press highlights the value of data and serious analysis over mere opinion in political writing. Georgetown University Press provides readers with some resources for those who want to get more engaged in US politics. Teachers College Press looks at politics and education policy. University of Wisconsin Press interviews author Michael Lazzarra about how dictatorships are supported by civilian complicity. Rutgers University Press looks at three new books on politics. University of British Columbia Press introduces their new series, Suffrage and the Struggle for Democracy. LSU Press addresses contemporary social justice issues in relation to Jim Crow's Last Stand and the recent state vote to ban non-unanimous criminal jury verdicts. University Press of Kansas interviews Dick Simpson and Betty O'Shaughnessy, authors of Winning Elections in the 21st Century. University of Toronoto Press looks at titles at recently brought back into print as part of UTP's Heritage Book Project. And University of Georgia Press explores two new books that focus on defining the white southern identity through politics. Please enjoy all of these great #TurnItUP posts!