Your Daily Newt: The Case of the “Pouting Sex Kitten”

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich holds up a copy of something that's not his 1994 novel, "1945."<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/22007612@N05/6239093704/">Gage Skidmore</a>/Flickr

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


As a service to our readers, every day we are delivering a classic moment from the political life of Newt Gingrich—until he either clinches the nomination or bows out.

Gingrich’s 1994 novel, 1945, presents a provocative alternative history in which Hitler invaded eastern Tennessee at the end of World War II. Most news accounts of the book didn’t get that far, though. Instead, they focused on the sex scene in the novel’s opening pages. But as Charlie Homans reports, that’s really not Newt’s fault; blame one of his co-authors, Jim Baen:

Baen’s eagerness to secure a large audience for 1945, [Gingrich friend David] Drake believes, was to blame for the Nazi Sex Kitten Incident. Dissatisfied with the first draft that Gingrich’s new co-author, William Forstchen, turned in, Baen began rewriting much of the novel himself—including an opening scene in which a Nazi spy, posing as a Swedish journalist, seduces the American president’s chief of staff in an effort to pry loose nuclear secrets. “Suddenly, the pouting sex kitten gave way to Diana the Huntress,” he wrote. “She rolled onto him and somehow was sitting athwart his chest, her knees pinning his shoulders. ‘Tell me, or I will make you do terrible things.'” Convinced the scene was the book’s strongest selling-point, Baen circulated an excerpt to political reporters and Hollywood producers.

The book, unsurprisingly, was a flop. As Homans notes, “When the speaker appeared at the Chicago Book Fair to promote To Renew America, Baen was reduced to handing out free copies of the novel to anti-Gingrich protesters outside, who tore the books to pieces on television.”

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest