Elizabeth Edwards’ memoir may not be the only book John Edwards has to worry about. Last week, Andrew Young, a lifelong friend of Edwards and a longtime aide, began shopping a book to New York publishers; according to his proposal, represented by David McCormick at McCormick Williams, the book would chronicle the tale of his long friendship with the Edwards family, his attempt to help Edwards by taking a pregnant Rielle Hunter into his home to live with him and his wife, Cheri, and their three children, and the fallout when the press (and Elizabeth Edwards) caught wind of the plan.
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Young submitted a 20-page proposal and began a round of visits to New York publishers the week of June 15.Included in the proposal are photos of Edwards with the alleged love child. Under pressure, Edwards admitted to having an affair with Hunter but has denied paternity;it was originally reported that Hunter would submit baby Frances to a DNA test to determine her paternity, but she quickly rescinded that offer. The space for “father” on Frances Hunter’s birth certificate was left blank.
According to editors who saw the proposal, Young went along with the plan—for an undisclosed sum of money—and took Hunter in for eight months. Aided by the late Fred Baron—the Texas lawyer who was an unofficial “uncle” to Edwards and who admitted paying to move the Youngs-plus-Hunter to Santa Barbara, California—Young wanted to help his friend, he says. But the situation became too much for Edwards, Young’s proposal alleges, when the National Enquirer outed the senator for his affair with Hunter, and when Elizabeth Edwards became aware of the financial arrangement. But when Young voiced his concerns to Edwards, he was cut off by the candidate, and has had virtually no contact with him or his family since. (Young could not be reached. David McCormick declined to comment on the project.)
When initial reports of Young-as-baby-daddy surfaced, he was portrayed as a clean-cut campaign worker, but in the intervening year, reporters found a history of arrests (for check forgery and burglary) and convictions (for driving while intoxicated). Young told editors he has met with that he feels his reputation is in tatters, and that he wants to “set the record straight.” He sees himself as a victim of the press and of the Edwardses, whom he once thought of as among his closest, personal friends.
Young told editors he feels that his reputation is in tatters, and that he wants to “set the record straight.” He sees himself as a victim of the press and of the Edwardses, whom he once thought of as among his closest personal friends.
In her book, Resilience, Elizabeth Edwards refers to her husband’s infidelity but does not mention Hunter or Young by name.
So far, there have been no takers for Young’s book, which one editor estimates could bring up to $1 million.Some have said that publishers won’t touch it both because it is unseemly and, more likely, because of public sympathy for Elizabeth Edwards. “You don’t want to release this book the week, God forbid, Elizabeth Edwards’ cancer returns,” one said editor. Still, book publishers, in the past, have paid high prices for scandal books—St. Martin’s, likely to be in line to consider this book—published Monica’s Story, Andrew Morton’s book with Monica Lewinsky. But the likeliest publisher for this as yet untitled tell all is, however, no longer in the business.Judith Regan built an entire imprint on this kind of book—including Amber Frey’s tell-all about her relationship with Scott Peterson—and was fired from HarperCollins in 2006 shortly after an uproar over her intended publication of If I Did It, O.J. Simpson’s mythical confession. Her division, ReganBooks, was also among the most profitable in BookLand.
Given the financial drought in publishing, there’s hardly a house that wouldn’t welcome some of those profits today.
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Sara Nelson is a critic for The Daily Beast and the former editor in chief of Publishers Weekly. She is the author of the bestselling So Many Books, So Little Time.