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November 29, 1999 at 05:00 AM EST

Fortunate Son: George W. Bush and the Making of an American President

Current Status
In Season

Just a month after it was recalled by St. Martin’s Press, J.H. Hatfield’s controversial biography of George W. Bush has found a new publisher. On Jan. 5, a paperback edition of ”Fortunate Son: George W. Bush and the Making of an American President” — complete with its by now notorious allegations of the presidential candidate’s cocaine bust — will arrive in bookstores courtesy of Soft Skull Press (, an alternative publisher based in lower Manhattan. ”Hatfield has the goods,” says Sander Hicks, Soft Skull’s principal manager. ”He has retracted nothing.”

St. Martin’s pulled the high profile book once doubts arose regarding the author’s credibility. First the New York Times was unable to confirm Hatfield’s allegations, based on three unnamed sources, that Bush was arrested for cocaine possession in 1972, and that a Republican judge erased the record of the bust as a favor to Bush’s father. Then the Dallas Morning News reported that Hatfield himself was convicted of hiring a hitman to kill his boss in 1987 and served five years in prison.

”Hatfield’s no longer denying [the charges], but it’s complete character assassination that [his arrest] was even an issue,” responds Hicks, who adds that the author will talk about his past at some future point. The new publisher was also satisfied with the sourcing in the biography, which describes a wide range of questionable behavior on the part of the Republican front-runner: Hicks says his press is ”prepared to defend [Hatfield] all the way — in courts of both public opinion and law.”

George Bush has called the allegations about his son’s cocaine arrest ”a vicious lie,” and George W. labeled them ”science fiction.” Because of the holiday weekend, a spokesman for the Bush campaign did not return calls by EW Online’s publication deadline.

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