Words On Words

Originally published on Monday, December 15, 2003 in The Miami Herald.

A tale of two covers: U.K. version takes heat

By Richard Pachter

Can you judge a book by its cover? Paul Krugman's British publisher, the Allen Lane imprint of Penguin Press, apparently thinks so; it has made the judgment, in fact, that the pointed critiques of the Bush Administration in The Great Unraveling provide its strongest selling point.

The U.K. edition's cover caricatures are from puppets of President Bush and Vice President Cheney displayed at 2002's World Economic Forum in New York.

Though the British edition is generally unavailable in the United States and the American cover is more formal, reaction from right-wing pundits and politicians was strong.

The New York Times quoted Christine Iverson, the Republican National Committee spokeswoman, as saying that it proved that Krugman's attacks were ''hate speech.'' The columnist's Web-based critics were equally -- albeit predictably -- shocked, shocked.

The Times reported that Krugman said he didn't recall seeing the cover before prepublication copies were sent to reviewers.

''I think it was intended to be ironic,'' he told The Times. ``It is a marketing thing, not a statement.''










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