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Fred Kaplan in Slate: my new book is very important

Posted by Christopher Shea  June 22, 2009 03:55 PM

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In a brazen* bit of self-promotion, Fred Kaplan argues that his new book, "1959: The Year Everything Changed," covers events of great significance. A contrarian stance for this particular author to take, clearly.

The piece is pegged to a recent article in the New York Times on the subject of grandiose book titles. However, as Kaplan notes, "reporter Patricia Cohen doesn't mention my contribution to the genre." Inconvenient! But Kaplan does not let that stop him from writing a 1,400-word article that reads like an advertorial, or just an ad. Nicely played, enterprising author!

As it happens, other blogs did poke gentle fun at Kaplan's title, specifically, among others making parallel claims about other years (1969, 1973). The point was not to dispute that 1959 was an important year, it was to make the case that the "X: The Year Everything Changed" trope has run its course. It's time for some new book-title cliches.

(Also, pace Kaplan, everything did not change in 1959. I'll stand by that.)

*Or admirable? I can never decide. When it comes to promoting one's own book, maybe shame is baggage that must be shed.

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