Influential literary magazine Foreword has announced the finalists for the 2007 Book Of The Year Awards (BOTYA). This magazine specializes in reviewing independently published books, and is a mainstay for librarians across the country. For most authors a mere mention in the publication is a huge boost, to get nominated for the BOTYA is a huge honor, and one that almost certainly assures good sales.

What I like about Foreword is the emphasis they place on the word ‘independent’, the independent book publisher is a unique beast, and one that is sadly often missed by the average bookstore who prefer to stock their premises to the rafters with Harry Potter and Stephen King, leaving no room for real books. Last year I read over 100 books, and with only a couple of exceptions all deserved to make it to the prestigious New York Times Best Seller List.

I was very pleased to see that included in the Foreword nominations were two great books that I reviewed from the small but important publishing house History Publishing Company.

Words Of War (Donagh Bracken) is a fascinating look at the Civil War as viewed through press articles of the times. One from the north, and one from the south. As the saying goes, there are three versions of every story, your’s, mine, and the truth. The truth being somewhere in the middle. Words Of War is a perfect example of this. Anyone interested in this turbulent period of American history should get a copy of this fabulous book. It will make you rethink what you were taught in school.

Hunting The American Terrorist (Terrie Turchie and Kathleen Puckett PhD) takes us inside the FBI for a very personal look at the murky world of tracking down home grown lone wold terrorist like the Unabomber and Eric Rudolf. The authors are eminently qualified to write this book, Terrie headed up the FBI effort to track down the Unabomber (Ted Kaczynski) and Eric Rudolf, and Kathleen was the lead ‘profiler’ on the cases. I found Hunting The American Terrorist to be a riveting page turner. I was also lucky enough to interview Terrie Turchie. Terrie and Kathleen have another book Homeland Insecurity that is slated for release later this year, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it!

I really hope that Words Of War and Hunting The American Terrorist take home some awards, they both richly deserve it.

Simon Barrett

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