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Bestsellers

Culture | The five best-selling nonfiction hardbacks as measured by placement on four leading lists as of March 20

Issue: "Clergy Sexual Abuse," March 30, 2002
Scoring system:10 points for first place, 9 for second, down to 1 for tenth, on the lists of the American Booksellers Association (independent, sometimes highbrow stores), The New York Times (4,000 bookstores, plus wholesalers), Publishers Weekly (general bookstores), and Amazon.com (Web purchases).
1
Bias
Bernard Goldberg 30 points (ABA: 5th; NYT: 2nd; PW: 4th; Amazon: 3rd)
CONTENT
The news media are biased toward the left and Bernard Goldberg, longtime CBS news correspondent, is rude enough to blow the whistle.

GIST
There's not a lot new here. Conservatives have complained for years about the liberal tilt of the major networks and newspapers. But Bernard Goldberg writes as an insider and it's funny to see how the network that lionized whistleblowers in other industries tried to shut him up.

CAUTION
N/A

2
Stupid White Men
Michael Moore 29 points (ABA: 2nd; NYT: 1st; PW: n/l; Amazon: 1st)
CONTENT
A screed against the evil powers that supposedly run the United States and a handbook for political action.

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GIST
In this view from the looney left, Bill Clinton is a closet Republican and Molly Ivins a genius. Mr. Moore obviously wrote the book prior to Sept. 11, so it has the dated feel of an old yearbook. Remember the old jokes about President Bush's intellect and the Florida elections? They're offered up here as original wit.

CAUTION
Crudities and a blasphemy.

3
Self Matters
Phillip C. McGraw 25 points (ABA: 3rd; NYT: n/l; PW: 1st; Amazon: 4th)
CONTENT
Advice for those who feel lost in their life from the psychologist praised by Oprah as a "walking, talking, in-your-face reality check."

GIST
Mr. McGraw diagnoses a problem-discontentment and unhappiness-and offers the standard self-help cure: Look within. That's where readers should look for keys to understanding their past bad choices and rotten self-images, and it's where readers will discover their true selves and find personal happiness.

CAUTION
N/A

4
Shadow Warriors
Tom Clancy 17 points (ABA: n/l; NYT: 3rd; PW: 2nd; Amazon: n/l)
CONTENT
A disjointed history of the U.S. Special Forces and a memoir of General Carl Stiner, who led the Special Operations Command during the Gulf War.

GIST
Tom Clancy's name on a book guarantees sales but not quality: Mr. Clancy plus two co-writers on this book equals uneven writing and narrative confusion. Accounts of several special forces operations, including the Achille Lauro hostage rescue, enliven an otherwise pedestrian book.

CAUTION
N/A

5
What Went Wrong?
Bernard Lewis 15 points (ABA: 4th; NYT: 9th; PW: n/l; Amazon: 5th)
CONTENT
Why Muslims of the Middle East, who once possessed the highest civilization and the top armies in the world, are on a five-century losing streak.

GIST
Mr. Lewis shows how Islam messed up by setting up obstacles to freedom, science, and development. Muslims did not trust individuals to go out on their own. Westerners lived in Islamic countries and learned from them, but imams never said, Go west, young Muslim. Although Mr. Lewis skips the theological basics, he explains well the cultural manifestations.

CAUTION
N/A

IN THE SPOTLIGHT
When San Jose Mercury News reporter Stephen G. Bloom decides to accept a job teaching journalism at the University of Iowa, he is prepared for a change in lifestyle-but soon finds himself dealing with more than regional differences. As he senses for the first time that his Jewishness matters to his neighbors, it begins to matter to him. Meanwhile, he discovers that Hasidic Jews from Brooklyn have moved to a small town nearby, transplanting their habits and lifestyle to a staid, Lutheran farming community. When a battle begins over the town's attempt to annex land on which stands a kosher slaughterhouse, Mr. Bloom finds himself drawn to the story. His initial goal-that by reporting on the Jews who run the slaughterhouse he will discover his own religious roots-gives way to an understanding that the conflict is more complex than he first imagined. So are his reactions to the unfolding story, which he tells admirably in Postville: A Clash of Cultures in Heartland America.

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