Inside Move: Timely tomes

Bookbiz cashing in with terror insight

While the TV and pic worlds are understandably reluctant to advance terrorism-related dramatic product in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, the nonfiction realm has found more room to capitalize on the public’s need for information.

In Gotham, publishers have pushed up pub dates for such books as New Yorker contributor Mary Ann Weaver’s “Shadow of the Jihad,” Caleb Carr’s “Conquering Terrorism,” Jon Miller’s “The Cell” and Peter Bergen’s “Holy War Inc.: Inside the Secret World of Osama Bin Laden.”

Quickie paperbacks include “One Mission, One Moment,” about President Bush’s Sept. 20 speech (due out in December), and the anthology “How Did This Happen: Terrorism and the New War” (due in November).

Business is so brisk that even “The Taliban,” a small Yale U. Press paperback written by Emir Rassid two years ago, has risen to No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list. And Judith Miller’s “Germ” stands firmly atop the hardcover list, with Karen Armstrong’s “Islam” popping in at No. 8 this past weekend.

It’s no surprise that at the recent Frankfurt Book Fair, Talk Miramax snatched up various rights to “My Forbidden Face,” a memoir by Latifa, an Afgan woman who grew up in Kabul under the Taliban. The company owns serial rights, and there have been murmurs about a film deal.

“There is a need for people to know about these things,” says Talk Miramax’s Jonathan Burnham.

But one top publishing exec cautions: “Usually, trend chasing doesn’t result in substantial projects. A book made in six months — will it really pull back the veil?”

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