Raw Meat: ‘Bailout Nation’ Dropped. War of Words Ensues.

Publisher McGraw Hill has dropped my friend Barry Ritholtz’s much-touted book Bailout Nation, just weeks before its publication. The reason? Barry says McGraw Hill was uncomfortable at corporate levels with the Ritholtz-ian  (i.e. direct, pungent, and unfiltered) criticisms he was directing toward McGraw Hill subsidiary S&P’s much-vilified bond rating group. His editors called for changes, Barry didn’t oblige the way they apparently wanted, and the result is his publisher dropped the book.

For its part McGraw Hill has, unsurprisingly, a different story. It says the following (according to Portfolio):

The material needed extensive corroboration across a range of topics. We could not agree on unified approach with the author for resolving the issues.

To translate, McGraw Hill is saying Barry didn’t have all of his facts straight, and/or couldn’t support them. Strong stuff. Do they present evidence? No, and Barry says he has reams of evidence to the contrary, including emails, bazillions of footnotes, and so on. He says he made some stylistic changes (apparently profanity is still bad in publishing), but that McGraw Hill’s corporate squeamishness was about his indelicate reaming of S&P, not whether he wrongly attributed something, say, to Henry Paulson that John Paulson or Jim Paulson actually said. (The Paulson Problem ™).

I’m sure Barry will get another publisher. The timing is good for the book, so it won’t likely lie there for long. In the interim, this will be raw meat for Barry. (I can already imagine the new cover blurb, "The book S&P didn’t want you to see!!") He is is ravenous when it comes to this sort of thing, and McGraw Hill has just handed him a delicious set of ingredients with which to make public relations stew. The dumb bastards.

[Update] Barry himself weighs in here.