Tuesday, May 11, 2010
My book, The Company Town: The Industrial Edens and Satanic Mills That Shaped the American Economy (Basic Books), officially publishes in September. Bound galleys are out now, having been mailed to possible reviewers and others. Amazon is taking early orders, which explains how there can be any sales numbers at all.
As a longtime reviewer of others' books, I'm bracing myself for what is to come. Some wag once observed that a book author is one who destroys for himself the simple pleasure of going into a bookstore: If his book is not there, he is furious; if it is there, he wonders why it's not displayed more prominently; and so on. It might equally be said that authors drive themselves mad over review coverage. "They said that? Why those, #@!!$%$#*!"
One complaint that's sure to be heard: The author failed to describe [substitute your favorite town]. Actually, there are 50 company towns discussed in some detail and dozens more mentioned. But there is no way to include all of them. Last summer, my wife told a staffer in a Pawtucket historical museum that I was writing a book on company towns. "Oh, how many volumes?" the woman responded. True enough, their numbers are legion. So I am hoping to create an interactive website that will allow input and discussion from folks across the land, letting everyone discuss their memories of company towns they have known and loved/hated.