The publicists at Crown must not know just how gaga Badger progressives are over former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold. How the tears flowed when he lost to political newcomer and tea party favorite Ron Johnson in 2010. How his supporters have begged him, in vain, to run against Gov. Scott Walker in an all but certain recall election. Otherwise, we're thinking they would have made sure to send us an advance copy of Feingold's new book, While America Sleeps: A Wake-up Call for the Post-9/11 Era, which went on sale in bookstores Tuesday.
But while the launch might have caught us by surprise, most local bookstores are ready and preparing for brisk sales. Barnes & Noble has ordered more than 750 copies, and the west-side store is hosting a book-signing on March 19 at 7 p.m.
A Room of One's Own has about 20 in stock and is already putting in a reorder, says manager Nancy Geary. "We expect this to be a big book for us," she says. "We're expecting over the next two weeks that we'll sell a lot."
Geary has also put out some feelers with Crown, hoping that Feingold could make an appearance at A Room of One's Own. Ditto for Pat McGowan, president of University Book Store.
McGowan says he called Crown Tuesday morning to see if Feingold would be available for an author event. He says they've ordered about 20 copies for the State Street location and a few others for the Hilldale store. That means, he says, "we expect it to be a pretty popular book."
McGowan says that books can be ordered and received overnight from the publisher, so the initial order is really just that. "Hopefully it's not a 'see if more are needed,' it's 'how many more are needed.'"
The only bookstore contacted that did not have books in stock or on their way is Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative, where a collective member explained that "generally we consider ourselves a bookstore of the radical left."
Feingold begins his national book tour Tuesday night with an appearance on Jon Stewart's The Daily Show on Comedy Central. Feingold appeared once before on the show in March 2006, when he discussed his call to censure George W. Bush over the president's use of domestic wiretaps.
Feingold will also make book stops in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Chicago and Vermont. Other Wisconsin stops will be in Mequon and Wauwatosa.
According to promotional copy, Feingold's book explores the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, finding that U.S. domestic and foreign policy has actually weakened efforts to protect American lives, national security and constitutional values.