Archive for the 'Ali Dubyiah and the Forty Thieves' Category

Remembering Robert Byrd

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010 by Randall Williams

The passing this week of Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia makes one miss the days when Southern politicians were complicated rather than merely crass. Yes, Byrd clung to office longer than he should have. Yes, he was a master of pork barrel spending. Yes, he lined up with the states’ rights and nullification Dixiecrats in the 1960s. But — like his fellow former Klansman Hugo Black of Alabama — he overcame his racist upbringing and became a supporter of civil rights, a defender of the promises of a living Constitution, and a champion of the poor and middle classes. Even the billions of dollars of federal spending he channeled into West Virginia seemed calculated to boost Appalachia and not himself.

In recent years, Byrd seemed especially prescient on the dangers of the imperial presidency, the willingness of Congress to give up its authority over budgets and foreign policy, and the risks to the nation of deregulation, militarism, and corporatism.

It is worth remembering, as NewSouth correspondent Wayne Sabel did this morning, Byrd’s post-mortem on George W. Bush’s ruinous rush to war in Iraq:

The run up to our invasion of Iraq featured the President and members of his cabinet invoking every frightening image they could conjure, from mushroom clouds, to buried caches of germ warfare, to drones poised to deliver germ laden death in our major cities. We were treated to a heavy dose of overstatement concerning Saddam Hussein’s direct threat to our freedoms. The tactic was guaranteed to provoke a sure reaction from a nation still suffering from a combination of post traumatic stress and justifiable anger after the attacks of 9-11. It was the exploitation of fear. It was a placebo for the anger.

What has become painfully clear in the aftermath of war is that Iraq was no immediate threat to the U.S. Ravaged by years of sanctions, Iraq did not even lift an airplane against us. Iraq’s threatening death-dealing fleet of unmanned drones about which we heard so much morphed into one prototype made of plywood and string. Their missiles proved to be outdated and of limited range. Their army was quickly overwhelmed by our technology and our well trained troops.

The American people unfortunately are used to political shading, spin, and the usual chicanery they hear from public officials. They patiently tolerate it up to a point. But there is a line. It may seem to be drawn in invisible ink for a time, but eventually it will appear in dark colors, tinged with anger. When it comes to shedding American blood — when it comes to wreaking havoc on civilians, on innocent men, women, and children, callous dissembling is not acceptable. Nothing is worth that kind of lie — not oil, not revenge, not reelection, not somebody’s grand pipedream of a democratic domino theory.

And mark my words, the calculated intimidation which we see so often of late by the ‘powers that be’ will only keep the loyal opposition quiet for just so long. Because eventually, like it always does, the truth will emerge. And when it does, this house of cards, built of deceit, will fall.

— Sen. Robert C. Byrd, 1917-2010, in speech on the Senate floor, May 21, 2003

One hopes those words will also be remembered and reflected on as Byrd’s colleagues in Congress memorialize him this week.

'Et Tu, George?' List of Books Includes Ali Dubyiah

Friday, January 26th, 2007 by Brian Seidman

Forget Othello and Animal Farm; John Egerton’s Ali Dubyiah and the Forty Thieves is the ultimate literary fable when examining the Bush presidency.

In Nicholas D. Kristof’s New York Times column on Tuesday, he posited that perhaps in the classics of literature can be found metaphors for the Iraq war–“Forget the Vietnam analogy that critics of the Iraq war usually toss out,” Kristof writes. “A more trenchant analysis of Iraq-style adventures appears in the histories of Thucydides, written 2,400 years ago.” He goes on to suggest not only The Aeneid and Moby Dick–citing Ahab’s white whale obsession as a symbol of the Bush presidency–before opening his column for suggestions of other appropriate books.

As one commenter writes, “A recent book actually inserts Bush into one of the classics: Ali Dubyiah and the Forty Thieves by the Tennessee journalist John Egerton is a political satire on the misadventures of George W. Fratbush (son of former potentate Wimpbush).” The comment goes on to say that Ali Dubyiah “is riotously funny, yet beyond the barbs it is a keen analysis of how we got into this mess and, worse, what lies ahead for us.”

For more on John Egerton’s tale of political science-fiction, visit Ali Dubyiah and the Forty Thieves is available now from NewSouth Books,, or your favorite local or online book retailer.

NewSouth Announces Release of Ali Dubyiah and the Forty Thieves

Wednesday, October 18th, 2006 by Brian Seidman

NewSouth Books is pleased to announce the release of Ali Dubyiah and the Forty Thieves by John Egerton. With the November election just around the corner, now’s a great time to check out this startling and hilarious political fable.

Told from a vantage point of long ago and far away, Ali Dubyiah and the Forty Thieves reconstructs the tale of the ruler George W. Dubyiah Fratbush, son of the earlier monarch Wimpbush, and the Fall of the American Empire. After Ali Dubyiah ascends to the kingship, his lust for power draws him into a gambit to take possession of the world, together with his band of thievesincluding Dick Chaingang, Donald Rumsfailed, and Paul Werewolf. Donning his warriors garb, Dubyiah battles the evil Saddam Gomorrah and Osama bin Hiden, but how long can Ali Dubyiah lie, cheat, and steal before his subjects rise up against him?

Ali Dubyiah and the Forty Thieves is available now from NewSouth Books,, or your favorite local or online book retailer.

Meet NewSouth Authors at Southern Festival

Friday, October 13th, 2006 by Brian Seidman

If you’ll be attending the Southern Festival of Books this weekend in Memphis, Tennessee, don’t miss our wonderful NewSouth authors, including Tony Dunbar (Tubby Meets Katrina), John Egerton (premiering Ali Dubyiah and the Forty Thieves), C. S. Fuqua (Music Fell on Alabama), Frye Gaillard (Watermelon Wine), Jennifer Horne (Working the Dirt), John Pritchard (Junior Ray), Carroll Dale Short (Turbo’s Very Life), and Sue Walker (In the Realm of Rivers).

The festival, sponsored by Humanities Tennessee, takes place at the Cook Convention Center and Main Street Mall in downtown Memphis. For more information, visit the Southern Festival official website.

Ali Dubyiah and the Forty Thieves Released in eBook Format

Wednesday, September 6th, 2006 by Brian Seidman

If you can’t wait to read John Egerton’s Ali Dubyiah and the Forty Thieves, good news! Ali Dubyiah is now available in eBook format. Now you can thrill to the literary hijinks of George W. Fratbush on your own computer screen, as he hunts Osama bin Hiden and faces the wrath of Katrina.

Ali Dubyiah and the Forty Thieves is available in Adobe Reader format. The hardcover is available for pre-order directly from NewSouth Books,, or your favorite local or online book retailer.

(… and, a source inside the Thieves tells us, it’s rumored that there’s a coupon inside the eBook for a special Ali Dubyiah offer. For more information, call us toll-free at (866) 639-7688 … )

Nashville Scene Calls Ali Dubyiah Author The Literary Patriot

Thursday, August 31st, 2006 by Brian Seidman

The Nashville Scene featured John Egerton’s hilarious and provocative new book Ali Dubyiah and the Forty Thieves on their cover today, calling the political parody both “endless fun” and “unforgiving.” From the article:

The ugly side of America is the target of Ali Dubyiah and the Forty Thieves, Egerton’s debut work of fiction. At first glance, its premise seems even more at odds with his image than his fondness for Jim ‘n Nick’s barbecue. This careful historian has produced a futuristic satirical fantasy aimed squarely at the present state of American politics. The book, told as a fable, begins in “the night-darkened end of the third millennium” when a mysterious figure named Ibrahim Barzouni recounts the story of an ancient American king, Fratbush, who came to power unexpectedly, and by questionable means. His cronies include Dick “The Mole” Chaingang, Donald “Dr. Toughlove” Rumsfailed and Karl “Babyface” Machiavrovelli. As Ibrahim Barzouni tells the story, Fratbush (a.k.a. Ali Dubyiah) embarks on a power-mad quest for global domination, driven by a combination of unfettered ego and primitive religious ideology. He begins his stomp across the globe in pursuit of (who else?) former ally Osama bin Hiden, now an avowed enemy of America and leader of a “soulless band of homicidal fanatics.” When that quest fails, Fratbush turns his attention to attacking another repulsive ex-friend, Saddam Gomorrah, which doesn’t go so well, either.

Read the entire article online at The Nashville Scene.

Ali Dubyiah and the Forty Thieves will be available in mid-September 2006; pre-order now from NewSouth Books,, or your favorite local or online book retailer.

John Egerton will also appear this weekend at the Atlanta Journal Constitution Decatur Book Festival. To learn more, visit

John Egerton at AJC Decatur Book Festival This Weekend

Tuesday, August 29th, 2006 by Brian Seidman

John Egerton, contributor to NewSouth’s Where We Stand and author of the forthcoming Ali Dubyiah and the Forty Thieves, will appear at the Atlanta Journal Constitution Decatur Book Festival this weekend, September 2 and 3. Egerton will speak on the panel “Tricksters of the New South” with Roy Blount, Jr. and George Singleton, as well as “Writing Around the Edges of Southern Foodways with John T. Edge and Marcie Cohen Ferris.

John Egerton has been a professional South-watcher for half a century. Beginning in high school in the 1950s, through two years in the U. S. Army, five years earning two college degrees, five more as a college news bureau reporter, six as a magazine writer, and for the past thirty-five years as an independent journalist and author, he has seldom strayed far from his lifes work: following the social and cultural, political and economic trends that forever have made the American South the unique place that it is, for better and worse. Until the publication of Ali Dubyiah and the Forty Thieves, all his published writing, including more than fifteen books, has been classified as nonfiction. He calls his new book a fable … a parable … a cautionary tale in the genre of political science-fiction, and he claims that he did not so much author it as synthesize it from hundreds of sources, compile it, and become by default the one to present it to the reading public. Fables donthave authors. Theyre found, heard, passed down.

Ali Dubyiah and the Forty Thieves will be available in mid-September 2006; pre-order now from NewSouth Books,, or your favorite local or online book retailer.

To learn more about the Atlanta Journal Constitution Decatur Book Festival, visit