The New York Times‘ Noam Cohen interviewed Shelby Steele, a race scholar currently at Stanford who authored last year’s A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited About Obama and Why He Can’t Win. Mr. Steele is understandably regretful about that unfortunate subtitle now that Obama is our President-elect, telling The Times that it was “slapped on” at the last second and has had the effect of undermining what he feels is his otherwise sound analysis.
The best part of the story is when The Times reporter calls up Free Press, which published A Bound Man, and asks its editor-in-chief Dominick Anfuso whether there was financially-motivated pressure put on Mr. Steele to use the provocative subtitle.
Mr. Anfuso said no, adding that “It is the handful of largely successful books that do that, and that gives the impression that is what we seek.” He added: “Subtitles can make best sellers, but they don’t have to be provocative to do that. It is a package. They go together.”