Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Jeane Kirkpatrick has signed a book contract with Simon and Schuster for $900,000, industry sources say. The book is scheduled for publication in November 1986.
Kirkpatrick and her agent, Irving (Swifty) Lazar, held negotiations with Bantam, Random House, Doubleday and other publishers before signing with Simon and Schuster. Some industry insiders question the book's commercial value and express puzzlement over the willingness of a publisher to pay just $100,000 less than Geraldine Ferraro's $1 million contract with Bantam.
"With Gerry Ferraro you have the whole saga -- hard-hitting Queens housewife becomes the candidate for vice president," one publishing source said. "But Kirkpatrick may run for national office in 1988 and she's told everyone who will listen that she wants to write a pretty academic book. Jeane Kirkpatrick's not exactly the kiss-and-tell type, you know. But let's face it, Simon and Schuster is not a charity. They must think they've gained something."
Some sources close to the negotiations said the book will concentrate mainly on foreign policy issues rather than an anecdotal look at the Reagan administration. "It'll be a manifesto, not a revelation," one said.
But another source disagreed: "That's all wrong. The book will detail Jeane's personal life in politics and her experiences at the U.N."
Kirkpatrick was not available for comment.
Bidding for the book was not quite as intense as it had been for Ferraro's, with only four or five publishers actively involved in serious negotiations. Sources said that several houses were offering approximately the same contract but Simon and Schuster won out because it had an option on the new book.
Kirkpatrick had for some time announced her intention to quit her U.N. job, and left the administration amid reports that she had not succeeded in persuading Reagan to appoint her to a post higher up in the foreign policy hierarchy. She was reportedly opposed by Secretary of State George Shultz and other administration officials who viewed her as too hard-line on some issues. Her relations with Alexander Haig, who preceded Shultz, were said to be strained. She has wide support among conservatives and neoconservatives, particularly on her foreign policy views.
Since leaving the Reagan administration, Kirkpatrick -- who once called herself a "Humphrey-Jackson Democrat" -- switched to the Republican Party, resumed academic duties at Georgetown University and is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.
Kirkpatrick is active on the speech-making trail, earning $20,000 per appearance.
In her career as an academic, Kirkpatrick has written extensively on, among other subjects, Argentinian politics, party reform and women in American politics. She is the author of numerous books, including "The Reagan Phenomenon and Other Speeches on Foreign Policy," published by AEI, and "Dictatorships and Double Standards," which was published three years ago by Simon and Schuster.