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Bush Biographer to Discuss 1972 Drug Arrest Sources at Chicago Press Conference

Author JH Hatfield and independent NYC publisher Soft Skull Press have weathered continuous controversy for the publishing of Bush biography Fortunate Son. The much-debated Afterword states that Bush was arrested for cocaine possession in 1972, and had his record expunged as a favor to the family. Hatfield has previously declined to reveal his sources, until now.
At 4 PM on Saturday, June 2nd, controversial Bush biographer J.H. Hatfield will appear at a Chicago press conference to talk about the sources behind the information on Bush's 1972 drug arrest. Hatfield will read statements and take questions at the Press Conference Center at Book Expo America, McCormick Place, Chicago. After years of refusing to name them as sources, Hatfield is now willing to discuss the involvement of Bush advisors Karl T. Rove and Clay Johnson and the part they played in feeding him the information that was published in his book.

In October, 1999, St Martin's Press published Fortunate Son: The Making of an American President, which reached #30 on the New York Times best-seller list within days. Also within days, it became the center of a modern-day case of censorship and book burning.

The majority of controversy surrounding Fortunate Son concerned Hatfield's Afterword, which maintained that Bush had been arrested for cocaine possession in 1972, only to have all evidence of the incident expunged from his record. According to Hatfield, this was done as a favor to the Bush family by an unnamed Texas judge.

The week of publication, Hatfield found the focus shift from his book to an assault on his personal history, which admittedly included a conviction for capital murder in 1988. Discredited by the press and constantly refusing to name his sources for the information on the 1972 drug bust, Hatfield was dropped by St Martin's, who recalled all copies of Fortunate Son and deemed them "furnace fodder". In fact, after retrieving the books, St Martin's sold them to various bargain bookstores at a cut rate.

Six weeks later, Fortunate Son was acquired, expanded and reissued by Soft Skull Press, an independent publisher located in New York City's Lower East Side. It has continued to be a subject of contention and debate in the press, with Hatfield and Soft Skull CEO Sander Hicks appearing together on 60 Minutes and Brill's Content, where the bait of Hatfield's felony conviction was taken and made the center of attention, instead of the book itself.

The second edition, released June 1st, contains over 60 pages of new material, including an introduction by noted media critic Mark Crispin Miller. Cold War historian Michael S. Binder also contributes never-before published information on Bush's spotty Texas National Guard background. Hicks' piece exposes the connection between the delivery of information to Hatfield by Rove and Johnson and the reaction of the mainstream media; the two Bush advisors were aware of Hatfield's conviction, and saw an easy way to discredit him publicly, thus turning the focus of the issue away from Bush's cocaine bust and onto Hatfield's own past.

Hatfield will be joined by Hicks at the Chicago appearance. This will be Hatfield's first press conference since October of 1999, when St Martin's recalled all copies of the original edition of Fortunate Son.
 
 

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