Mark Pendergrast: The Most Hated Man in America

For this column, we ask NASW authors to tell how they came up with the idea for their book, developed a proposal, found an agent and publisher, funded and conducted research, and put the book together. We also ask what they wish they had known before they began working on their book, or done differently. We welcome tips for aspiring authors and hope that this column provides fodder for productive discussions. Details on how to submit your upcoming book below.

— Lynne Lamberg, Advance Copy

Most Hated Man cover

Most Hated Man cover

THE MOST HATED MAN IN AMERICA:
JERRY SANDUSKY AND THE RUSH TO JUDGMENT

Mark Pendergrast
Sunbury Press, November 15, 2017, $19.95
ISBN-10: 162006765X; ISBN-13: 978-1620067659

Pendergrast reports:

Everyone knows the story of Jerry Sandusky, the serial pedophile, the Monster. But what if that story is wrong? What if the former Penn State football coach and founder of the Second Mile is an innocent man convicted in the midst of a moral panic fed by the sensationalistic media, police trawling, and memory-warping psychotherapy?

Despite my being a relatively well-known, well-reviewed nonfiction author, I could not secure a contract for a book raising these questions from a major publisher or academic press. Why? Because the case is so toxic that no one would touch it.

I finally found Sunbury, a small Pennsylvania press, which was brave enough to publish it. The book is a kind of sister publication to Memory Warp: How the Myth of Repressed Memory Arose and Refuses to Die.

Mark Pendergrast, photo by Betty Molnar

Mark Pendergrast, photo by Betty Molnar

The background: In 2013, I got an email out of the blue from Glenna Kerker, an Oregon woman, asking me to look into the Sandusky case because it involved repressed memory therapy, about which I have written. I had heard about Mike Macquarie, the eyewitness who supposedly saw Sandusky sodomizing a boy in a Penn State shower, so I assumed Sandusky was guilty. But when I looked into the case, I found that Macquarie had not witnessed anything but had only heard slapping sounds. And the case was indeed replete with repressed memory and other issues.

I became fascinated and could not stop researching it, even though I was under contract for another book at the time. I ended up visiting Sandusky twice in prison and interviewing dozens of people, including all of his children, an alleged victim, lawyers, Sandusky acquaintances, and others.

The result is this hefty book, which I fear may make me “the most hated writer in America” for many people who think they know about the case and have accepted the standard abuse narrative. My mantra for this book will be RTB: Read the Book. Then form your own conclusions.

Contact info:

Mark Pendergrast, 802-497-1570, 802-310-9246 (cell), markp508@gmail.com, www.markpendergrast.com
Publisher: Lawrence Knorr, 855-338-8359, lknorr@sunburypress.com

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NASW members: will your book be published soon? Take advantage of this opportunity for shameless self-promotion. Submit your report for Advance Copy.

Tell your fellow NASW members how you came up with the idea for your book, developed a proposal, found an agent and publisher, funded and conducted research, and put the book together. Include what you wish you had known before you began working on your book, or had done differently.

See https://www.nasw.org/advance-copy-submission-guidelines.

Thinking of writing a book? If you are a NASW member, you may access a list of more than 150 books and online resources to help you craft your book proposal, find an agent and funding sources, negotiate your contract, learn about self-publishing, publicize and market your book, and more at https://www.nasw.org/article/write-book.

Send book info and questions about book publishing to Lynne Lamberg, NASW book editor, llamberg@nasw.org.

Why is this featured on "Advance Copy?" I'm very uncomfortable with NASW promoting a book like this.

Hi Madeline:

We considered the controversial nature of Mark’s topic prior to including his report in Advance Copy, which offers NASW members the opportunity to describe their books’ contents and development. Publication of NASW members’ reports in Advance Copy does not indicate NASW’s endorsement of their books. Not publishing a member’s report, however, would be an act of censorship antithetical to NASW’s mission.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I hope they will foster further discussion.

Lynne Lamberg
NASW Book Editor
llamberg@nasw.org