Allen West Joins the Ranks of Fantastic Political Authors

National Journal

You can't always tell a book by its cover, but you can occasionally tell a politician by his or her book. Former House member and samurai Allen West is coming out with a book next April that sets a new gold standard for book covers. The "American Ronin's" book comes complete with a screeching bald eagle bike decal and the kind of bombastic title that we've come to expect from our political class.

The full cover is here:

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West is far from the first to try and make a splash with a cover. Here are some recent highlights.

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Media personality, former vice presidential candidate and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is an expert at the book cover. She adds a good mixture of poses, subtle clothing, and America-themed jewelry in both of her books. And worry not, politicians thinking about writing a memoir in the future, you can mix it up by either looking straight at the camera—as in America By Heartor look to the distance with a touch of hope in your eyes—as inGoing Rogue.

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Now, if you're as outlandish and charismatic as former Godfather's Pizza CEO and Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, you can get away with a book cover that literally screams at the reader. Use an exclamation point in the book title! (This is Herman Cain!) And why stop there? Put an inherently false statement in the subtitle, like for instance, My Journey to the White House.

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Forget the plagiarized materials inside the covers. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., presents an outstanding first look in his memoir. So, you made it to political office in Washington? Show the world and stand in front of your place of work. (He even stands on the correct side of the Capitol.) Spruce it up with a catchy and pointed title: Government Bullies. Now, if the words just weren't hitting the reader with enough oomph, give the title a good font that says, "Too much government will bring the end to America as we know it." Only one tiny problem: When you cross your arms like that, it's kind of difficult for the reader to know who the bully is.

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Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., put together a nice package of self-importance with his The Speech back in March 2011. The book itself is just a published copy of a eight-and-a-half-hour floor speech Sanders gave in December 2010. But the grandiosely simple title and the "historic filibuster" claim (despite that fact that, as Sanders has acknowledged, the speech wasn't technically a filibuster) dress up the 128-pager quite nicely.

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And then there's the father-son Jackson duo's 1999 book, not to be outdone by, really, anybody. This is maybe the most unfortunately titled political book of the past two decades. Jesse Jackson Jr. is currently serving a prison sentence, and, as The Chicago Tribunewrote in February, really didn't listen to the advice of his own book.

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