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The inside scoop on the book world

A tell-all Disney expose, Tupac Shakur’s penpal, and ”Cold Mountain” made news the week of July 18, 1997

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THE MOUSE THAT ROARED? Tragic Kingdom: Inside Michael Eisner’s Disney, by former Disney employee Kathleen Harkey-Smith, has just been canceled by Carol Publishing, which marks the second time the dirt-dishing tell-all has lost its publisher: Dove dropped the title last winter, as rumors flew that it had been muscled into doing so by the Walt Disney Co. Harkey-Smith’s manager, Glenn Sobel, says of Carol, ”It looks like a repeat of Dove — somebody got to them and scared them.” But both Dove and Carol deny that Disney exerted any pressure on them to ax the book. Insists Michael Viner, Dove’s president at the time, ”We would have published the book — if it was a good book,” adding that Harkey-Smith declined to do the necessary editorial repair work. Carol publisher Steven Schragis says, ”The manuscript that was submitted was very interesting, but not publishable — we wanted it done somewhat differently,” and that the deal fell apart over the terms of the rewrite. Sobel says he is already talking to publishers about a new home for the book.

ALL EYES ON HER Sister Souljah, the rap artist and activist who began a correspondence with Tupac Shakur while he was in prison in 1995, is looking to write a memoir of their friendship. A proposal for the book, which would include their letters to each other and interviews with his mother, Afeni Shakur, as well as never-before-seen photos of Tupac, is being sent to publishers this week by Souljah’s agent, Elyse Cheney. Tupac’s ”mind and consciousness have not been explored,” says Souljah, who is also trying to sell her first, as-yet-untitled novel.

NEXT PATIENT, PLEASE After he finishes The Talented Mr. Ripley, Anthony Minghella, director of The English Patient, will tackle Cold Mountain, the best selling debut novel by North Carolina-based Charles Frazier set at the end of the Civil War. According to Frazier’s film agent, Lynn Pleshette, United Artists has bought the book for Minghella, paying $1.25 million.