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A new book called “The History Makers” has reportedly been scrapped from publication in the US after it was accused of not highlighting enough black figures.
New York-based writer Richard Cohen told the Guardian how he tried to address the criticism by agreeing to a major rewrite of the book that already took him 10 years to pen.
“It was to do with the publisher’s sensitivities,” Cohen, who moved to the Big Apple from London 20 years ago, told the UK paper.
“I was then asked to write more, and have done about another 18,000 words,” he said, with new sections focusing on pivotal figures like Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Du Bois and Toni Morrison.
But the rewrite was not enough for Random House, which last Wednesday suddenly dropped out of the estimated $350,000 deal, sources told The Guardian.
Cohen’s wife, leading US literary agent Kathy Robbins, is now urgently seeking a new publisher in the US, the outlet said.
The book, subtitled “2,500 years of shaping the past,” is still scheduled to be published in the UK by Weidenfeld & Nicolson on June 25, the report said.
Random House did not immediately respond Sunday to requests for comment on the report.
The company still features advanced publicity for the book, including praise from Hilary Mantel of Cohen’s “brilliant achievement” with his “scholarly, lively, quotable, up-to-date, and fun” book.
The Random House listing calls it “an unusually authoritative and supremely entertaining volume.”
“Rich in character, complex truths, and surprising anecdotes, the result is a unique exploration of both the aims and craft of history-making that will lead us to think anew about our past and the stories we tell ourselves about it,” the site says.
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