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Hugo changes Chomsky's fortune

Noam Chomsky's book became a bestseller after Hugo Chavez recommended it.

india Updated: Oct 01, 2006 09:01 IST

Move over Oprah -- Venezuela's Hugo Chavez is calling the literary shots this week.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez made headlines for his United Nations speech on Wednesday calling US President George W Bush "the devil himself," but a reading suggestion he made in the same speech created a bestseller.

At the United Nations, anti-imperialist Chavez began his speech by displaying a copy of US writer Noam Chomsky's book Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance and recommended that Americans read it.

By Thursday, the book had risen from backlist obscurity to be the No 3 bestseller on Before the speech, the 2004 book reprinted by Owl Books was being outsold by thousands of other titles on the online bookseller's Web site.

On Thursday, Coliseum Books in mid-town Manhattan was sold out of the book by the famed linguistic scholar and critic of US foreign policy.

"After the Chavez speech, we promptly sold out," one manager at the store said. "And looking at our computer, it looks like our wholesaler has sold out too."

Popular US television talk show host Oprah Winfrey often creates bestsellers by recommending titles, including classics, on her Oprah's Book Club segment.

Chomsky, who is professor emeritus of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, could not immediately be reached for comment.

First Published: Oct 01, 2006 02:37 IST