Nathan Bransford, Author

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Publication Alert: The Almanac of Political Corruption, Scandals & Dirty Politics

You may be interested to know that in the 1800s there was a politician named Robert Potter, who, after losing an election bid for the North Carolina House of Commons, challenged the victor to a duel. Failing to bait the winner into a fight, Potter's supporters subsequently brawled with the victor's supporters, leaving one dead and several injured. And he won the election the next year!

But wait, it gets better. While later serving in Congress, Potter suspected a Methodist preacher and a cousin of being "too familiar" with his wife, and he kidnapped and... castrated them. ("Potterize" is still used as a slang term for castration in some parts of the country)

Potter subsequently ran a successful House of Commons campaign from prison, but was eventually expelled for cheating at cards -- I mean castrate people, yes, but DON'T CHEAT AT CARDS. But Potter was not finished. He moved to Texas, where he was one of the original signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence and was appointed secretary of the Texas Navy. He was finally assassinated in 1842.


Also, did you also know that George Washington was the subject of a sex scandal? That Ulysses S. Grant was allegedly issued a ticket for driving his horse and buggy too fast?

All of this and much much more (including an indispensable list of American politicians killed in duels) can be found in THE ALMANAC OF POLITICAL CORRUPTION, SCANDALS & DIRTY POLITICS by Kim Long, on sale today!!

Harper's Magazine recently featured a really fascinating interview with Kim Long in which he talks about the history of American political corruption (it predates the founding of the republic) and some of the better scandals. Definitely check that out.

One thing that strikes me every time I crack open THE ALMANAC OF POLITICAL CORRUPTION is the sheer massiveness of the task of researching the misdeeds and compiling the vast amount of information (and pictures, charts, newspaper articles, etc.) that went into THE ALMANAC OF POLITICAL CORRUPTION. On Thursday we'll have a guest blog from Kim Long on how he approaches the task of research just in case you are wondering how nonfiction writers do it.

Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy THE ALMANAC OF POLITICAL CORRUPTION, SCANDALS & DIRTY POLITICS!! It's quite delicious.

Also, I should note that today is also the publication day for friend-of-the-blog John Elder Robison's LOOK ME IN THE EYE, his memoir of living with Asperger's Syndrome and Maya Reynolds' BAD GIRL has been out a few weeks. Check those out as well.


Isak said...

It's kind of comforting to know that politics has always been a corrupt, dirty and scandalous... I wonder what the full extent of misdeeds was for ancient Roman and Greek politicians?

How much research does everyone else do in regards to fiction??

I always find myself having to back track (no matter how much research I think I've done) and update things as best I can without losing the story's time and setting.

original bran fan said...

So cool of you to give two other writers (who aren't your clients, I assume) a shout-out. You are truly one of the nicest guys in publishing.

Danette Haworth said...


Other Lisa said...

This sounds like my kind of book!

SInce it's an almanac, does this mean it will be updated regularly? God knows there have been some great potential entries in recent months...

Michelle Moran said...

This sounds like a fantastic book! And good point, Lisa! Are we to expect a Part 2? And 3...

Nathan Bransford said...

Lisa and Michelle-

Let's just say THE ALMANAC ends with the very apt "To be continued..."

Kimber An said...

Too funny!

Maya Reynolds said...

Nathan: That was so nice of you. I wasn't expecting it.

Thanks much!

Tom Burchfield said...

Answer to Isak: I'm doing quite a bit for my novel. This link will take you my blog The 9/16 entry tells about a research trip I took to the California Sierras.

Its supernatural content aside, I find I need to inject quite a bit of reality into my book to make it work and that reality requires research.

Congrats to the the two published authors. I hope to join you soon.

Other Lisa said...

I didn't even see the top comment's question (formatting is a little wonky here).

I do a ton of research. Research by the pound. Sometimes it's narrowly focused; more often it's an immersion. I don't always know what I need to know, and that's the only way to find out.

Luc2 said...

Yes, you gotta love politics. It's just like real life, but even less believable. Sounds like a fun read.

"To be continued". Love it.

Anonymous said...

Kim Long IS your client,Nathan. I don't blame you for promoting his book, but when Original Bran Fan assumed he wasn't your client, you should have corrected her/him.

Nathan Bransford said...


Original Bran Fan had it right (and I really appreciate her very kind comment). Kim Long is definitely my client, John Robison and Maya Reynolds are not clients. Those last two were the "other writers" she was talking about.

Heidi the Hick said...

I wonder if anybody's written the Canadian version of that book?

Anybody? Wanna have a go at it?

I think it's really cool to announce big events like this. Any writer has to get chills when it's time for their book to become REAL!

Heidi the Hick said...

I wonder if anybody's written the Canadian version of that book?

Anybody? Wanna have a go at it?

I think it's really cool to announce big events like this. Any writer has to get chills when it's time for their book to become REAL!

Heidi the Hick said...

As for research for fiction, I'm just getting into that now. The book I'm querying now didn't need much research other than verifying a few details.

My next one needs research to make a character come to life and ooooh boy am I learning a lot just from reading a couple of good non-fiction books on the topic!

I look forward to Kim Long's guest blog!

Dave Wood said...

Congratulations Nathan and Kim! It must be really exciting for an agent to see a project hit publication. Almost as exciting as it must be for the author. And congratulations to John and Maya too.

I like to work with historical, or historically inspired, fiction so the almanac sounds like exactly the kind of book I'd use in my research.

Sophie W. said...

Oh, those historic political figureheads. Always getting into trouble. ;) I've read a lot of books like this, and all I can say is if you want to spend the whole day laughing till you're crying, crack one open.

Church Lady said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Church Lady said...

I ordered both books (John E Robison and Maya Reynolds) today off Amazon, along with Patricia Woods' "Lottery" and Lynn Viehl's "Darkyn."

I would never have ordered any of these books if it hadn't been for the world of the blogoshpere. Truly. My dollars would have been spent roaming around Borders for books for my kids, and maybe Oprah's selection along with a Dean Koontz. Blogging has opened a new world for me.

The Anti-Wife said...

Wow. Things haven't changed much in American politics over the last 200 years.

The Anti-Wife said...

Make that 300 years!

A Paperback Writer said...

Wow. Good book review, Nathan.
But, gee, why'd ya spoil the ending?

John Elder Robison said...

Thanks for listing my opening on your blog . . . my brother and I were at the flagship B&N in Manhattan, where we read for a huge crowd, overflowing the seating into the store and cafeteria below.

As fast as B&N moved the line it still took an hour and a half to sign the books.

So we're off. Hope to come west and see you soon, Nathan.

best wishes
John Robison

Lupina said...

"How much research does everyone else do in regards to fiction?" --

As a NF writer with a number of published NF books, I thought that penning fiction would give me a big break from all that research. Wrong! In the process of writing two unpublished novels I did everything from reading chemistry textbooks to climbing an old farm silo to see how the grain chutes worked, and how the rungs felt on my feet. Even a well-published fantasy writer friend of mine keeps horses partly to lend depth and reality to the horse lore in her novels. I think good research gives stories that ring of truth so necessary for believable fiction. I know I love it when authors seem to know their stuff.

getitwritten_guy said...

Lupina - -

I'm using a number of personal experiences in my WIP, and I still find myself constantly researching. Part of that is to refresh my memory on places and things I've put in the story, and partly to give extra detail to plot and characters.

I really like what you said about research giving stories "that ring of truth so necessary for believable fiction." Wish I'd said that one myself :)

Nathan - -

The 'Almanac' is sure to be a gem! Politics has always been full of dirt and scandal, and its interesting to look back and see how fashions in misdeeds have changed (or not) over the years.

At least members of Congress don't settle their differences with duels anymore.

Nathan - -

Bryan D. Catherman said...

This reminds me of Michael Farquhar's A TREASURY OF GREAT AMERICAN SCANDALS; only that book is more about the sexual misbehaviors of our Founding Fathers and other political swingers.

Looks like an interesting book.

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