The Future of Politics and Prose

This is a bit of local news, so skip this item unless you live in Washington, or are literate, or are opposed to the Walmartization of publishing, or stand against barbarism generally. Politics and Prose, one of the world's great independent bookstores, conveniently located seven blocks from my house, is going up for sale. The two owners, Carla Cohen and Barbara Meade, are both 74 and are looking for buyers. You would think it might be hard to unload a bookstore these days, but Politics and Prose is an extraordinary place, as an article out now in the New York Times attests. Only a handful of weeks have gone by in the last ten or 15 years during which no one from my family had paid a visit to the store, and left some of Goldblog's hard-earned cash behind. I don't begrudge this spending one minute, in part because the store is a refuge, one staffed by people who actually read books, and have sharp and interesting opinions about them, and in even larger part because Politics and Prose, especially for Washington-based authors such as myself, is inevitably the most satisfying and delightful stop on any book tour, and I am not merely damning the place with faint praise (those of you who have read in St. Louis in February will know what I mean). I'll never forget my reading at Politics and Prose; I never wanted it to end (my audience, and Mrs. Goldblog, wanted it to end, but what did they know?).

In any case, careful readers of the Times will notice that Goldblog is mentioned as being interested in perhaps becoming one of the owners of this bookstore, as a member of a powerful yet discerning (and handsome!) combination that includes Frank Foer, the editor of The New Republic, and Rafe Sagalyn, the prominent literary agent, and that we hope will one day include Colin Powell, Fred Malek, and Vernon Jordan as well. (I kid, of course -- we don't really need Fred Malek counting our Jewish customers, of which I've noticed a couple.) The goal here is not to lose my money, of course (note to Atlantic management: I would be contributing a symbolic amount of money to this effort, so stop thinking what I think you're thinking) but to make sure that people who love books keep Politics and Prose vibrant and thriving, because without it, Washington would become even more of a wasteland than it already is.

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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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