Dennis Johnson is the co-founder of Melville House, one of at least six book publishers that have announced they will. Print the report of the parliamentary panel In the January 6 attack on the Capitol. But so far, the contents of the report are as enigmatic to him as it is to anyone else.
“This is a public document paid by citizens of the United States,” Johnson said. “Just like everyone else” expects it to appear on the government’s website, most likely as a PDF.
Resources familiar with the panel They say the report will be published on December 21. Other publishers that have announced versions of the document include: HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, Celadon Books and more.
It takes a lot of time to transfer a book from PDF to page. Publishers have to deal with layout and typesetting. If there’s a lot of redaction, this could be another can of worms. Publishers hope that whatever Assembly publishes is reasonably well formatted and searchable. But Johnson sees the work in the public interest – solidifying public records in a more accessible way than a hard-to-read document at the bottom of a government website.
It’s also a way to make sure things don’t go unnoticed.
In 2014 the Senate issued Torture Report — CIA investigation into the detention and interrogation program. It fell modestly a few days before Christmas. “It just came out. Nobody knew it was coming,” said Johnson, who saw its silent publication as the Senate’s attempt to “squash the impact of the report.”
“It was such an important document that we literally worked day and night. We had staff who prepared it 24 hours a day for a little over a week and actually made the book,” he said.
A report released in book form is also likely to be a big hit. “It’s not often that the government report has the opportunity to reach so many Americans,” said Craig Warren, a professor of English at Penn State. He published an article in 2007. Journal of American Studies On the 9/11 Commission Report and its impact on the American reading community.
“Most government reports read like a microwave oven’s instruction manual,” he said. They are full of boring, contrived, dry and technical language. But the 9/11 report was different. Harvard historian Ernest May served as senior advisor on the commission and worked with them to create a true narrative. “He wanted them to be storytellers,” Warren said.
“And what surprised readers most was their use of elements commonly found in fiction, such as suspense and premonition, irony and metaphor. As a result, readers were captivated not only by the report’s content, but also by its literary art.”
Of course, the January 6 report enters a very different America. The plans announced by the publishers also reflect this. The HarperCollins version will come with a forward from MSNBC presenter Ari Melber. Penguin Random House’s will come with one by Congressman Adam Schiff. air horse publish theirs with a foreword by Darren Beattie, an ally of former President Trump, who regularly posts election denial plots on his website. Johnson chooses to release his version of Melville House without any frame. “We think the document should speak for itself,” he said.
But while Johnson sees it as a moral duty to publish the report, there is something that completely stops him from publishing it. If it’s a 6,500-page report with 10,000 pages of transcripts, I’ll let someone else publish it,” he joked.
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