"Horns and Halos" is a fascinating story behind a book that became so controversial, its publisher, St Martin's Press issued a recall a few days after the publication date, and promptly burned all of the copies. The name of the book is "Fortunate Son" a biography of George W. Bush. The book's author, J.H.Hatfield had a few other star biographies under his belt (Ewan McGregor and Patrick Stewart) and also authored an unauthorized guide of X-Files when he pitched the book successfully to St. Martin's Press. "Fortunate Son" was supposed to be one of those glitzy tribute bios, but it turned into something much more, and what happened to the book, and J.H.Hatfield is the meat of this riveting documentary.
Hatfield added an afterword to the book, which he claimed was at St. Martin's insistence. The afterword included a juicy acknowledgment by three unspecified sources about Bush's alleged cocaine addiction. Hatfield insisted that he didn't want to add this info, but did so when the publisher pressed the issue. Immediately after publication, Hatfield's sordid past--which included a murder-for-hire scheme came to light, and the dirt on Hatfield--combined with the segment on Bush's alleged cocaine use led to the books' recall and destruction.
Enter Soft Skull Press, a tiny independent press who then republished the book and tried to distribute it. A great deal of the film follows the trials and tribulations of the rogue founder of Soft Skull Press, the intrepid, idealistic Sander Hicks as he and J.H.Hatfield attempt to re-launch the book. Hicks and Hatfield attended book conventions, and even appeared on 60 Minutes to try and promote the book. The two men form an unlikely sometimes-difficult bond. There's Hatfield with his glum, fatalistic realisation that he's "dead meat", and then there's Hicks, who refuses to give up. Unfortunately, the content of the book faded behind its controversy and the author's past. And even when Hatfield revealed his sources, nothing could salvage the situation.
The film "Horns and Halos" is a two-disc set. One disc is the film, and the other disc is devoted to extras including: protests at Bush's inauguration, band White Collar Crime in performance, 11 deleted scenes, director's commentary, interviews with Hatfield, protest coverage, KCET coverage of the documentary, and an interview with Sander Hicks. If you are interested in reading more of the story (the 60 minutes transcript, for example), Sander Hicks has a website (sanderhicks.com). Hicks no longer works for Soft Skull Press and is now--amongst other things--working on a bio of Karl Rove--displacedhuman