Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld secured a book deal yesterday from Sentinel, the conservative publishing imprint of Penguin Books USA. Sentinel publisher Adrian Zackheim acquired the book via Washington lawyer Robert Barnett, who represents many of Washington’s most powerful figures when they decide to write books and often gets them enormous, seven-figure advances.
Mr. Barnett did not conduct an auction for the book, according to someone familiar with the negotiations who would not speak for attribution. Instead, Mr. Rumsfeld was presented with "several large offers" before deciding to go with Sentinel.
The book will cover Mr. Rumsfeld’s entire political career, not just his years in the Bush administration, as well as his years as a businessman.
How much Sentinel agreed to pay for Mr. Rumsfeld’s memoirs is unknown but also arguably moot, because Mr. Rumsfeld is donating whatever he makes on the book to his non-profit foundation, which benefits young people interested in public service.
The deal was first reported by the AP’s Hillel Italie yesterday afternoon. Mr. Rumsfeld told Mr. Italie in an interview that he is going to "try hard to have be very fair and honest and useful." He also said he hopes "it adds to people’s information about these times."
News of Mr. Rumsfeld’s book came just hours after Publisher’s Weekly reported that Cindy McCain had sold her memoirs to Viking, another imprint of Penguin. According to PW, Ms. McCain’s deal, brokered by Sterling Lord president Flip Brophy, was worth close to a million dollars.