Political guru Wy Spano explains why his book on Coleman-Franken recount won’t be released

Wy Spano

Wy Spano

Political guru Wy Spano’s book on the 2008 recount in the Norm Coleman/Al Franken Senate race won’t be released after all, even though it’s finished and advance copies had been sent out by publisher Zenith Press/Quayside Publishing Group.

“A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Senate” was to have come out next month, but Spano says it turned out to be far different from what he’d expected — and been contracted to write.

And while he thought the differences he had with publisher Zenith Press/Quayside Publishing Group could be worked out, when advance review copies were distributed without his knowledge he pulled out of the project to protect his reputation, he told MinnPost.

Spano, a longtime DFL lobbyist and co-founder and former editor of Politics in Minnesota, is now director of the Master of Advocacy and Political Leadership Program at the University of Minnesota, Duluth.

The Coleman-Franken recount was a national news story that took months to sort out and left Franken the winner by 312 votes.

In an interview today, Spano said the project reeled out of control and that he couldn’t abide having large portions of the book written by others while he was listed as sole author.

“We’d agreed early on in the process that each chapter would have a short reportorial description of the subject matter [written by others], then I was going to provide the Greek chorus — the commentary — saying this is what it means and here are some stories to go with it,” he said.

“So I wrote commentary for the chapters, but then they took the research and made full chapters out of them, and put all my commentaries in an epilogue, which didn’t make a lot of sense.”

So in the end, most of the book was written by others, albeit with an attempt to keep his “voice” in the writing, he said.

“Now that I’m an academic, that’s something [getting credit for work written by others] that gets frowned on. I couldn’t even consider that.”

His students would have known for sure it wasn’t his writing, he said. The non-Spano sections included some pejorative descriptions of politics and politicians, things he would never allow in his classrooms, where “we define politics as how we care for each other, recognizing that some people do it badly and some people do it well,” he said.

Now, Spano would like to take the work he’s done, add to it a bit to look forward at the roles Coleman and Franken will play in national politics, and try to get a new book deal.

“What’s done is done, but I’ve got all this work and would like to be able to use it. By happenstance, the book is about two people who are pretty clearly going to be important leaders in our political discussion in the next couple years. So the new book be about those two guys and their future, of course, with lots of the information about the election and the recount.

The withdrawal of Spano’s book from the marketplace leaves only one book left to tell the recount saga: “This is Not Florida; How Al Franken Won the Minnesota Senate Recount,” by Jay Weiner, who covered the recount for MinnPost.

It will be released Oct. 1.

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Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Carl Eeman on 09/16/2010 - 09:18 pm.

    Say Mr. Kimball
    An important correction to your closing. “Recounting Minnesota; Blogging the Al Franken Election Saga” was published August 15, 2008 (6 weeks after Franken’s swearing in) by Melange Press of Round Lake, NY.

    Mike McIntee has mentioned my book on several occasions on The Uptake segment of AM 950.

    You and your readers can order it at http://www.melangepress.com, at my website of http://www.carleeman.com or amazon of course.

    Sorry to hear Wy Spano has been having troubles. It was a great story and I was honored to have written an account of it.

    From yust southeast of Lake Wobegon.

    (Carl Eeman of St. Louis Park)

  2. Submitted by Gregory Lang on 09/17/2010 - 04:56 am.

    bookfinder.com has a few copies of Wy Spano’s book.

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