Friend and fellow Chicago Blogger Anne Leary bumps into Bill Ayers at Reagan National Airport and Ayers volunteers this challenge.
Then, unprompted he said--I wrote Dreams From My Father. I said, oh, so you admit it. He said--Michelle asked me to. I looked at him. He seemed eager. He's about my height, short. He went on to say--and if you can prove it, we can split the royalties. So I said, stop pulling my leg. Horrible thought. But he came again--I really wrote it, the wording was similar. I said I believe you probably heavily edited it. He said--I wrote it. I said--why would I believe you, you're a liar.Well, they are experts at comparing texts out there and while maybe they can't prove authorship beyond a doubt, they can give a pretty good estimate. Dreams of My Father a very different read than Audacity of Hope. One is literature and the other more a quick political job. Ayer's being sarcastic? Maybe, or maybe he's tired of being under the bus. He's not a guy who goes down easily.
He had no answer to that. Just looked at me. Then he turned and walked off, and said again his bit about my proving it and splitting the proceeds.
Update: Mark Rhoads from Illinois Review made this comment over at Anne's blog,
Mark Rhoads said...
People forget that it took Ted Sorensen 52 years until May of 2008 to finally admit in his memoirs that he was the real author of "Profiles in Courage" in 1956 and not John F. Kennedy. JFK took all the credit and accepted the Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction in 1957 for a book he did not write and he secretly shared royalties with Sorensen to keep the secret.
There are many reasons why Bill Ayers might want his authorship known now including revenge. But this story and others by Jack Cashill might finally stir up some reporters in main stream media to at least intervew Obama's former unhappy book agent who felt she was cut out after all her hard promotion work when the big pay day came for Dreams in 2007-2008. The most interesting part of the Jack Cashill stories to me is that he had hired some scholars to compare the language in passages of Dreams to other books written by Bill Ayers. One example would be the nautical terms and metaphors in Dreams that were never part of the life of Barack Obama but were part of the personal history of Bill Ayers from asmall part of his life spent in the Merchant Marine. The last common sense question for Obama as an author is how come he never published anything--not so much as a single op/ed or a single letter to the editor in public print and then comes forth one year with a full blown best seller? It makes one wonder when so many other writers can offer many examples of their published writing before a first book effort. We know from public sources that Obama had to return and advance from a publisher for a prior book writing effort that flopped. The only published srap with his byline was a poem from his freshman year at Occidental College. One other was a pro-choice article in the Harvard Law Review attributed to him as editor but without his byline. So he had zero history of published writing and suddenly writes a book? Does that make common sense?
-Mark Rhoads, Illinois Review