First Draft: From No. 54,000 to No. 2 — after a handshake
The handshake that set Washington buzzing — that awkward grip-and-grin between President Barack Obama and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez at a weekend summit in Trinidad — seems to be great for book sales. Specifically, the tome Chavez passed to Obama, “Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of Pillage of a Continent” leaped from Number 54,000 on Amazon.com to Number 2, almost overnight.
The anti-colonialist book is in some strange company atop the online bestsellers list. Five of the others in the top 10 are editions in the popular romantic vampire “Twilight” series. There’s also “The 5000 Year Leap: A Miracle That Changed the World” at Number 7. The online description says it’s about how “the United States there has been a gradual drifting away from the Founding Fathers original success formula.”
Number 9 is “The Ultimate Depression Survival Guide: Protect Your Savings, Boost Your Income, and Grow Wealthy Even in the Worst of Times.” Number 8 is “The Shack,” billed as “a one of a kind invitation to journey to the very heart of God.”
What’s at the very top? “Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto.” This one tells “how conservatives can counter the liberal corrosion that has filtered into every timely issue affecting our daily lives, from the economy to health care, global warming, immigration, and more.”
The handshake itself got a negative review from former congressman Newt Gingrich who said on NBC’s “Today” program: “It does matter to the world if the United States tolerates a vicious anti-American propaganda campaign and then smiles and greets the person who’s systemmatically been anti-American for his entire career.”
Photo: Kevin LaMarque/REUTERS (Obama gets a book from Chavez during the Summit of the Americas, April 18, 2009)