Quite some time ago, I blogged about this book and heavyhanded government efforts to stall its distribution.
Well, it is now worth rather a lot of money
eBay Sellers Buck Defense Department & Sell Uncensored Version of Operation Dark Heart
Currently 13 eBay sellers are selling Anthony Shaffer‘s memoir, Operation Dark Heart: Spycraft and Special Ops on the Frontlines of Afghanistan — and the Path to Victory. Two sellers have included the original, uncensored version–undermining the government’s attempts to buy up the entire first printing.
St. Martin’s Press had scheduled Shaffer’s memoir for an August 31st release with an initial print run of 10,000 copies. Last week, the Defense Department hoped to buy the first printing to prevent public access to what they deem classified government information.
As of this writing, the highest open bid for an uncensored copy of the book was $560. One auction for the book ended yesterday with a winning bid at $2,025. The government’s involvement has made the book an online bestseller with a boom in pre-sale orders. According to government sources, the Defense Department is negotiating with Shaffer’s publisher to release a revised version of the memoir.
The Strand Bookstore eBay listing offers this description: “This is the first edition of Operation Dark Heart. The Department of Defense asked the publisher to cancel this version, and a new edition is now scheduled for publication with redacted classified text. This copy has not been censored in any way. It is unread, in new condition, and extremely scarce.”
Historian and novelist Joan Druett dubbed the title the “Unavailable Bestseller” in a blog post. (Via Huffington Post)
Well, that was back in 2010, when we all learned a new word, "redacted," presumably sounding nicer to officialdom than plain old "censored." So what is it worth now that 2014 has dawned?
Impossible to tell. There are plenty of copies of the "redacted" version available for a few bucks, but the people who own any of the few review copies that got out before the government bought up the 10,000 first printing for something under $50,000 are keeping them safe in their bank vaults.