Fire and Fury, journalist Michael Wolff's sizzling exposé of Trump's White House, had readers coming for it in droves when the book was released earlier than initially scheduled. Meanwhile, another book with a similar title also got a bump in sales when confused readers bought the wrong Fire and Fury. Professor Randall Hansen, interim director of the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, saw a spike in (perhaps unintentional) interest for his 2009 book Fire and Fury: The Allied Bombing of Germany, 1942-1945.
Hansen's book focuses on the British and American bombing campaign on Germany that killed more than half a million German citizens and civilians. Much of the bombing was carried out against the demands of the Allied military leadership, according to the book's description. The cover of this Fire and Fury clearly indicates it's a World War II history book, not a book chronicling the internal feuds and power dynamics of the Trump administration.
Despite this, it seems readers are mistaking "Allied Bombing of Germany" for "Inside the Trump White House" — the author reported a boost in sales and the nearly decades-old book sits at the top of the bestsellers list in German history. Hansen couldn't help but comment on this delightful development:
“I haven’t seen this level of interest since the book first came out,” Hansen told The Guardian. “It amused me. Part of me thought: Can people really be that dumb to be confusing these books?”
The political science professor was coincidentally in Washington on Friday when Wolff’s hot-selling book was released. He even joked with his colleagues about his own Fire and Fury book with the same title. Later that evening Hansen logged on to Amazon and found to his pleasant surprise that his book had moved up on three of Amazon's bestseller categories.
Some of Hansen's new readers might have a genuine interest after stumbling upon it during their search for the Wolff book. At the time of writing, when visiting the Fire and Fury World War II book on Amazon, the Fire and Fury Trump book was listed under both the "Customers who bought this item also bought" and "Customers who viewed this item also viewed" sections.
But since-deleted reviews reportedly captured by the Washington Post show that some buyers either weren't paying attention or were just really confused:
I DON’T SEE ANYTHING ABOUT PRESIDENT TRUMP! I DON’T KNOW WHY THE DEMOCRATS ARE SO HAPPY WITH THIS BOOK AND MAKEINIG A BIG DEAL OF THIS !
Like really confused:
HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH BLUMPF !!! SCAM !!!
At least 35 people marked this Amazon review as helpful:
I bought this book after seeing an ad for it on The Gorilla Channel. Only into the first chapter, but it is well written and seems well researched...
The author mentioned to The Guardian one Twitter user complained he bought the book by accident and there was no way he was reading it. "I thought, well, it’s not quite my fault, mate," Hansen said.
But for the potential new readership, Hansen hopes that a few more people will reflect on the consequences of war to civilian populations. Wolff's "fire and fury" refers to Trump’s explicit threat of war against North Korea. Hansen's "fire and fury" refers to what that warfare actually looks like. Describing the Trump presidency as "a moment when we have this warmongering, unstable, deranged demagogue in the White House,” Hansen said the accidental interest in a relevant topic makes him happy.
So if your bookstore is sold out of Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, you can at least brush up on your war history with Hansen's coincidentally-titled book.