Archive for the ‘news’ Category

Don’t Call Me a Crook!: “Incredible” and “incredibly well-written”

Friday, February 18th, 2011

OK, I freely admit it: it’s been far too long since my last blog post.  I’m sorry.  Really.  And it’s not from a lack of topics.  From the November U.S. elections to the mass movements in the Mideast, things are changing quickly!  Not to make excuses, but Dissident Books’ is a one-man shop, so between getting the word out about the titles, sales, and dozens of other tasks, blogging tends to get pushed to the back burner.  But that’s not an excuse.  I promise to post more often.  Just like I promise that the check is in the mail.
You might recall in my last post I wrote how e-newsletter ForeWord This Week ran a feature on Notes on Democracy: A New Edition.  Well, this week managing editor Kimber Bilby turned her attention to Dissident Books’ other offering, Don’t Call Me a Crook!  Bilby writes that

Autobiographies & Memoirs is the biggest category in our Book of the Year Awards program. I understand why: everyone has a story to tell—even reference librarians. (Does Ruth Harrison from A Prairie Home Companion ring familiar?) The ability to tell a good story and grab the reader from page one is a gift that not everyone has. That’s what makes an award-winning memoir: it’s not only an incredible tale, but an incredibly well-written one. Cheers to those who tackle retelling their life stories in print. This week we feature a more humorous account of a con man, Bob Moore, in Don’t Call Me a Crook! published by Dissident Books.

Boy, did reading that make my day!  It’s a fact is Don’t Call Me a Crook! is both “an incredible tale” and “an incredibly well-written one.”  One blogger confessed that she read it three times.  Three times!  You know a story is gripping and a pleasure to read when someone goes through it more than once.  Check out what ForeWord has to say about Moore’s memoirs here.

Be ForeWarned!

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

“Tis’ the season for the subliminal and the over-the-top political ads,” ForeWord Reviews’ managing editor Kimber Bilby writes today in ForeWord This Week, an e-newsletter. “And they’re definitely getting to me because I’ve chosen two politically-inspired titles for our featured FTW reviews.”  And guess what?  Notes on Democracy: A New Edition is one of them!  No kidding!  We here at Dissident Books are mighty jazzed that the good folks at ForeWord thought to give a well-timed primary-week nod to Mencken’s Majestic Missive on the Mob and its Malice. 

And we’re very flattered that Notes is coupled with what appears to be a scorcher of a book: Lt. Matt Gallagher’s Kaboom: Embracing the Suck in a Savage Little War, a memoir of the war in Iraq.  “While Gallagher didn’t hold back his opinions, there is no mistaking the biting satire of noted social critic H.L. Mencken in Notes on Democracy.”  Take a minute to read what ForeWord has to say about Notes.  And while you’re at it, check out what it had to say about Dissident Books’ other epic, Don’t Call Me a Crook! A Scotsman’s Tale of World Travel, Whisky, and Crime.

“Speaking of democracy and freedom, Banned Books week is only two weeks away,” Bilby segues.  She invites readers to send in their answers to ForeWord’s “Banned Books Survey”:

1. What is the most popular banned book in your library/bookstore?
2. Number one question you’re asked about banned books?
3. What display or event received the most attention during Banned Books Week?

Off hand we can’t think of answers to these excellent questions, but we will say that Mencken fought censorship and Puritanism all his life.  Indeed, he was no stranger to censorship.  A Boston reverend tried to ban The American Mercury, Mencken’s magazine.  The Sage of Baltimore stood up to the Puritan, went to trial, and won.  Right on, Hank!

Where Old Ships Go to Die!

Sunday, April 11th, 2010

I’ve got to believe that Bob Moore, marine engineer and author of Don’t Call Me a Crook! A Scotsman’s Tale of World Travel, Whisky, and Crime, would find Jan Smith’s photographs of abandoned ships in Mauritania’s Nouadhibou Bay both fascinating and horrifying.  They’d no doubt remind him of his ill-fated stints on a yacht on Long Island Sound, a river boat carrying kerosene along the Yangtze, and the cruise ship s.s. Vestris.

Like Dissident Books’ beloved Glaswegian, Mr. Smith is quite an adventurer and risk-taker.  From MSN’s Good:

When Smith attempted to venture into Mauritania in 2008, he encountered no shortage of struggle. “I was turned away at the border, slept in a mine field, and was accused of espionage. No one believed I would travel to the remoteness of Nouadhibou to simply take pictures of rotting ships.”

Well, whatever Bob might or might not of thought, I love the pictures.  To my eyes these vast behemoths are dead dinosaurs, rotting in a primordial lake.

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!



Cato Institute scholar calls “Notes on Democracy” “the best for-pleasure book I read (so far!) in 2009″

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

Justin Logan, associate director of foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute today called Notes on Democracy: A New Edition “the best for-pleasure book I read (so far!) in 2009.”

Mr. Logan, we at Dissident Books congratulate you on your superb taste.  You are a gentleman and a scholar.  We thank you, and Mr. Mencken thanks you!

Booklust returns and reviews “Don’t Call Me a Crook!”

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

You might recall my August 23 post (“Booklust takes ‘Don’t Call Me a Crook!’ on a trip”).  Well, Booklust is back, and has written a review of Bob Moore’s pickled, globetrotting and illegal memoirs.  We’re pretty stroked to see she gave it a rating of 7.5 out of 10–not bad!  Personally, we think Mr. Moore’s memoirs rate an 11 out of 10, but we have an admittedly biased opinion.  “I don’t know if there are any thoroughly unapologetic, charmingly devious con men out there in the world like him any more,” Booklust writes.  “The author embodied the spirit of the Roaring 20s, of a world thrilled to be done with WWI and happily ignoring the inevitability of WWII, a world that had not reached the Great Depression, and was riding high on waves of lawlessness and corruption on the cusp of the modern age. . . .  It’s hard to admire him, but it’s impossible to dislike him. He has a certain roguish, rakish charm.”

Booklust also comments wisely on Moore’s racism.  In the book’s third part, “Mitchell and China,” “Moore’s racism and bigotry shine through a little too much for my liking,” she remarks. “However, it made the book very real. I think now, a lot of historical fiction tends to glaze over the racial relations of the past, sidestepping the complications and possible negative reactions that those situations can create. But when you read books that were written in those eras, by people who lived them. . .  well, it’s just there. Innate. In the pores, as it were. Yes, it is hard to read, but it’s worse to ignore it, and worst to pretend it never happened, I think. Moore had opinions and he stuck by them, regardless of how narrow-minded or slippery his ideas were. I can’t help but respect a man who sticks to his guns. And when he does it in such a hilariously self-righteous and interesting manner. . . well, that just makes the going that much easier.”

We completely agree.  How often in movies and books about the past do you find whitewashing of discrimination and strife?  The good old days weren’t so good.  Like today, there was hatred and racism.  Like Booklust, we prefer reality to lies.

Booklust ends her review with an equally perceptive summary: “Don’t Call Me a Crook is a fun and interesting look at what life was like for the working class of the 1920s–unapologetic, realistic and true, it sheds light on what must have been a fascinating time to be alive.”  She’s absolutely right to stress that Don’t Call Me a Crook! is a proletarian memoir.  As The Scotsman (Edinburgh) pointed out, “Moore’s book is one of relatively few accounts looking at the Roaring Twenties from the point of view of a Scot who was, if hardly at the bottom of the social order, at least not born with a silver spoon in his gob.”  It might break the hearts of politically correct folks to read that a laboring man didn’t feel class solidarity (just the opposite: he wanted your job!), and saw the world through a sexist, racist, and greedy lens, but that’s their problem.  Again, we’ll take truth over fairy tales.

From Associated Press: “Cops: Man steals woman’s car on first date”

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

From Associated Press, updated 11:43 p.m. ET, Sat., Aug 29, 2009

FERNDALE, Michigan – A first date went from bad to worse when a man skipped out on the restaurant bill, then stole his date’s car, police said.

Police say 23-year-old Terrance Dejuan McCoy had dinner with a woman April 24 at Buffalo Wild Wings in the Detroit suburb of Ferndale. The woman said the two met a week earlier at a Detroit casino and she knew McCoy only as “Chris.”

The woman told police that McCoy said he left his wallet in her car and asked for keys. He then sped away in the 2000 Chevrolet Impala.

Not terribly romantic…  A descendant of Bob Moore, perhaps?  Same sense of chivalry.

For more click here.

Booklust takes “Don’t Call Me a Crook!” on a trip

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

Booklust takes Don’t Call Me a Crook! with her on a trip to India!  Bon voyage!

How appropriate to bring the globetrotting Bob Moore on a voyage halfway across the earth…  But should you really trust him as a traveling companion?

“Fantastic Book Marketing: A Great Example” from

Friday, August 14th, 2009

Here’s a very helpful article from Joanna Penn’s on how Wired For War does all the right things to attract readers.   I find this piece both inspirational and pratical: I constantly need to remind myself that the days of sending advance reading copies to magazines and newspapers and hoping for a review are over!  There are better and more effective ways to get the word about your releases.

I’ll give more thought to video and audio marketing…  definitely.

What I Found at BEA! Part IV

Saturday, June 13th, 2009

The Man Overboard:  How a Merchant Marine Officer Survived the Raging Storm of Alcoholism and Drug Addiction by Darryl Hagar,  $29.95,

What if Don’t Call Me a Crook!‘s Bob Moore found God and got his life together?  It might be like The Man Overboard:

The Man Overboard is the dramatic story of Darryl Hagar, a twenty-five year veteran of the Merchant Marine.  This  “drunken sailor” was charged with the daunting responsibility of safely navigating 900-foot supertankers through the dangerous and unpredictable oceans of the world, including refueling the U.S. Navy during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s and again during the Persian Gulf War in 1990-91–all the while living a double life.  Within a professional life of discipline and order, Darry led a clandestine, chaotic existence of alcoholism, drug abuse, and crime.

Hagar also has a The Man Overboard comic series.  The drawings are very detailed and add to the sense of horror of Hagar’s once out-of-control life.  As he says in the comic’s intro:

Some of the stories contained are funny, some are sad, and indeed some are very disturbing. . .   much like life itself.

And much like Don’t Call Me a Crook!  I’m looking forward to reading this.  I expect it’ll give me some new insight into sailors’ lives, and why they’re so often drunken.

We’ve just joined GoodReads!

Saturday, June 13th, 2009

And here’s our first review:

We were so happy and proud that this was our first release and that it turned out so well.  Mencken’s words read like they were written today.  And they’re just as shocking–maybe more so–as they were when “Notes” was first published in 1926.  Marion Elizabeth Rodgers’ introduction and annotations open up fascinating vistas on the Sage of Baltimore’s prose that otherwise would go unnoticed by the average reader.  Anthony Lewis’ afterword is passionate and a fine nightcap to an evening (or week or month) spent with “Notes.”