Executive Editor, Eric Brandt, on publishing former Peruvian President, Alejandro Toledo.
by ERIC BRANDT
Stanford University Press Blog
On December 11, I finally received the email response I had been hoping for. It was from the Clinton Foundation and included an endorsement of Alejandro Toledo’s forthcoming book, The Shared Society:
As President of Peru, Alejandro Toledo confronted some of Latin America’s biggest challenges. Today, he shares his vision for the region’s future and offers a roadmap for promoting growth and creating the inclusive, prosperous society that is well within reach.
—President Bill Clinton
In my long career as an editor, I’ve never obtained a book endorsement from a former US president. In the following weeks, I would also receive endorsements from world-famous economist Francis Fukuyama and the former president of Brazil, Fernando Cardoso. As Toledo’s literary agent said, “This is going to be a book jacket on steroids!”
These world-class endorsements will undoubtedly help us reach the wide readership we hope to capture for The Shared Society. It is an important and timely book for the future of our global economy, and so we have selected it as the first book from Stanford University Press’s new trade imprint: Redwood Press. The mission of this new imprint is to acquire influential voices on topics that educate and stir debate outside of the classroom, to publish intellectually stimulating books—serious non-fiction and thought-provoking fiction—that are written for a general trade audience. The US economy is inextricably tied to that of our southern neighbors, and we expect Toledo’s blueprint for the future of Latin America will stir a great deal of healthy debate about the choices we make for our own future. Toledo’s book is well-timed and relevant, and the author’s personal story inspires his vision for the region.
Alejandro was born into poverty in a remote village in the Peruvian Andes. By the age of six, he was working shining shoes, selling newspapers and lottery tickets to supplement the family income to help feed his sixteen siblings. It was the early sixties and President John F. Kennedy had just established the Peace Corps. Among the first volunteers to arrive in Peru, Joel and Nancy Meister were charmed by this street urchin and asked if he knew where they might rent a room. Alejandro immediately befriended them and invited them to his home. It would prove to be a very propitious meeting.