Stupid White Men
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Stupid White Men ...and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation! is a book by Michael Moore published in 2001. Although the publishers were convinced it would be rejected by the American reading public after the September 11 attacks, it spent 50 consecutive weeks on New York Times Best Seller list (eight weeks at number 1) for hardcover nonfiction and is in its 43rd printing. It is generally known by its short title, Stupid White Men.
|Subject||Politics of the United States|
|Media type||Hardback, paperback, e-book|
|LC Class||E902 .M66 2001|
The book is highly critical of recent U.S. government policies in general, and the policies of the Clinton and Bush administrations in particular. Moore's "A Prayer to Afflict the Comfortable" was originally published in this book.
Moore completed Stupid White Men shortly before the September 11, 2001 attacks. His publisher, HarperCollins, initially refused to release the book, fearing bad publicity in the wake of the attacks (despite an advance printing of over 50,000 copies).
HarperCollins wanted Moore to rewrite half of the book. They asked him to tone down criticism of the president. They also wanted to change the title to Michael Moore: The American, delete three chapters: "Kill Whitey!", "Dear George", "A Very American Coup" and insisted that Moore himself would have to pay the cost of printing the revised book, which was $100,000. If he didn't comply, they would simply abandon the project and pulp the books already printed. In the book, Moore suggests that Rupert Murdoch, owner of News Corporation and HarperCollins, "passed down" this decision.
On December 1, Moore made a presentation in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He told the audience about the struggle to get his book published and that the only copies in existence were about to be recycled and probably would come back as Rush Limbaugh or Bill O'Reilly books. Moore read the first chapters of his book to the group. In the audience that day was Ann Sparanese, a librarian from Englewood, New Jersey. Sparanese sent word to various email lists including the Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT) and Library Juice, explaining Moore's predicament. She expressed that "this battle wasn't just one man's struggle with a publishing house, but was a battle to preserve free speech and to stop censorship". Moore was unaware of this until he received an angry phone call from HarperCollins two days after the reading.
Despite HarperCollins' predictions - and, according to Moore, their deliberately limited promotion of the book - the book became enormously popular, becoming the largest-selling nonfiction book for 2002 at such major outlets as Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com, and occupying the #1 spot in the U.S., the United Kingdom (including being the number one seller on Amazon.co.uk before a British printing was even proposed), Germany, Ireland, and elsewhere.
The book was subsequently criticized in another book, Michael Moore Is a Big Fat Stupid White Man, which HarperCollins published.