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Amazon tracks reader interests closely, so I was not surprised to see a pitch for a history book on Amazon, but I was taken aback by the title pitched to me: Jonah Goldberg's screed Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning, now the number one customer favorite in the category of history books for 2008:

On closer examination it turns out that this award was based on sales through October 2008. One can only guess how many of the purchasers of Jonah's book read past the words liberal fascism.  It would also be interesting to learn how many of the purchases of this book took place in the form of bulk sales.

The issue here, is less with J. Goldberg, however, than with Amazon. Surely the Amazon staff realize that they are peddling book sold in large part to reinforce conservative prejudices or invent new ones. It must be nice work if you can get it (for J. Goldberg)--write nonsense and get rich in the process. If the results can be so easily manipulated perhaps Amazon should cease with the customer choice awards altogether in this category, or if they are simply going to follow the numbers they might be better off not sticking the self-promoting Amazon award on customer's search pages.

Some of the other works on the top ten Amazon sales list for history are also no prize: take Pat Buchanan's Churchill, Hitler, and "The Unnecessary War": How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World.   But there are some books that might actually merit a plug such as Drew Gilpin Faust's, This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War .

Originally posted to Historian on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 12:09 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  They don't care. (5+ / 0-)

    Their concern is selling books. Be it a conservative or liberal one. And while the GOP base may be shrinking, they are a reliable bunch of lemmings. Which is why a piece of garbage like Liberal Fascism climbs the charts.

    •  Conservative groups (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TracieLynn, Mas Gaviota

      buy their nutjob heroes screeds by bulk, that's why you see crap from Ann Coultergeist etc at the top of the sales lists for awhile and then a year later they're used as liner for the cats litter box.

      Jonah Goldberg is the prototype for the fat unpopular kid in grade school who spent most of his time getting beat up and having his lunch money stolen.

      "Load up on guns, bring your friends, it's fun to lose and to pretend" Kurt Cobain-1991

      by Jeff Y on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 12:19:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Liberal groups also buy books in bulk... (0+ / 0-)

        I've gotten books as part of the deal in joining various liberal organizations, both sides do it.  But I don't think any of them buy from Amazon; I'm sure they're ordering straight from the publisher.

  •  They buy in bulk (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    2/10/07 Freezing in Springfield 11/4/08 Celebrating in Grant Park

    by chicago minx on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 12:18:15 PM PST

  •  My guess... (5+ / 0-) that Goldberg was a shoe-in when he got his book classified as "history", as opposed to "politics" or "current events" or "right-wing bloviating".  

  •  I've never seen proof of charges of bulk-buying (0+ / 0-)

    Goldberg is a sad little child, but I'd really like to see proof of charges like this made against RW writers. Seems like it shouldn't be too hard to get for someone in the business.

  •  howdoyousay... (0+ / 0-)

    amazon sucks.

    Shop local - nurture your community this holiday season.

    Why shop Indie?

    When you shop at an independently-owned business, your entire community benefits:
    The Economy

       * Spend $100 at a local and $68 of that stays in your community. Spend the same $100 at a national chain, and your community only sees $43. Shop for books at amazon and chances are your community will see a goose egg, zero, & zippo from your purchases.
       * Local businesses create higher-paying jobs for our neighbors.
       * More of your taxes are reinvested in your community--where they belong.

    The Environment

       * Buying local means less packaging, less transportation, and a smaller carbon footprint.
       * Shopping in a local business district means less infrastructure, less maintenance, and more money to beautify your community.

    The Community

       * Local retailers are your friends and neighbors—support them and they’ll support you.
       * Local businesses donate to charities at more than twice the rate of national chains.
       * More independents means more choice, more diversity, and a truly unique community.

    "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" ~ Mary Oliver

    by mountain girrl on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 12:51:53 PM PST

  •  How sad our country is. (0+ / 0-)

    We still have a lot of work to do.

    No one in the country has swagga like us.

    by fou on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 01:00:41 PM PST

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