Laurence Leamer, best known for his best-selling books about the Kennedy clan, didn‘t have an easy time of it when it came to selling his newest book about a Kennedy-by-marriage, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
"I couldn‘t sell this book," Leamer confided Tuesday, the day the book was released. "What kept coming back was that this is a guy who was anti-Semitic and possibly pro-Nazi. … That was the perception. [Publishers] didn‘t know [for sure], but kind of had that feeling. They didn‘t want to touch it because of that."
After more than a half-dozen rejections, St. Martin’s Press agreed to publish the authorized biography, "Fantastic: The Life of Arnold Schwarzenegger." In part because of that experience, Leamer said one of his missions in writing the book was to "definitely prove the truth or falsehood" of those assertions.
He said he believes they stemmed from a February 1988 article in the British tabloid News of the World that charged that the current California governor was a "secret admirer of Adolph [sic] Hitler" who held "fervent Nazi and anti-Semitic views." Leamer said Schwarzenegger sued the magazine and won an out-of-court settlement and a public apology from the author, who said there "was not a word of truth" in the article.
Leamer added that in his research he learned that Schwarzenegger‘s first mentor at the age of 15 was a former Jewish partisan who fought against the Nazis.
"Everybody he worked with in his life has been Jewish," Leamer said. "His second mentor, [bodybuilding guru] Joe Weider, is Jewish. His publicist is Jewish. If he is anti-Semitic, he‘s an incredible ingrate. … Anybody after reading this book who can dare say [Schwarzenegger] is an anti-Semite is a total liar."
Leamer appeared this week on the morning programs of CBS and Fox plugging the book. But you didn‘t see him on NBC, apparently because Schwarzenegger‘s wife, Maria Shriver, put the kibosh on his appearance reportedly in the belief that the book is critical of her. She used to report for NBC News.