You know what's next for any lame duck president: the inevitable post-presidency memoir. Only problem, other than the fact that he struggles with basic grammar and syntax: Bush is a hugely unpopular outgoing president, and most of the country hates him. Publishers are wondering what the market for a potential Bush memoir would be, and the consensus is: um, awkward! No publisher is clamoring to give him $15 million like they did Clinton; certainly "the foreign rights interest will be considerably less," says the SF Chronicle. How have other unpopular presidents handled their memoirs?The current wait-time from moving out of the White House to publishing a book appears to be about two years. Taking into consideration the time it takes to write (or ghostwrite) a book and put it through the slow publishing process suggests that most presidents have gotten their book deals right after leaving office. Here's what past unpopular presidents did with their memoirs:
- Jimmy Carter: left office in 1981; Keeping Faith: Memoirs of a President was published in 1982. The New York Times verdict? "Dry and passionless." Post-presidency, Carter wrote twenty-four books, including a poetry collection and a historical novel. He also wrote a children's book that his daughter illustrated, called The Little Baby Snoogle-Fleejer.
- Gerald Ford: Out of office in '77, he published his autobiography, A Time to Heal, in 1979. Review from Foreign Policy: "This is the shortest and most honest of recent presidential memoirs, but there are no surprises, no deep probings of motives or events. No more here than meets the eye".
- Lyndon B. Johnson, who didn't run for re-election in 1968 after Vietnam overwhelmed his presidency, published his memoirs, The Vantage Point, in 1971. Everyone still blames him for fucking up that war.
- Harry Truman was roundly disliked when he left office in 1953. Nevertheless, his two-book memoirs were published in 1955 and 1956. The New York Times Book Review called the first one a "volume of distinction"!
- Herbert Hoover, the unpopular Depression-era president for whom the "Hooverville" homeless encampments were named after, left office in 1933. He published The Memoirs of Herbert Hoover in 1952. Wrote the Times that year, "There is no doubt that Mr. Hoover always has had a case in defense of his ill-starred administration; but when he comes to make it it turns out too good a one. This is the third — and we hope not the final — volume of a fascinating series of memoirs."