'Cape Wind' meant as entertainment
By Wendy Williams and Robert Whitcomb
Brent Harold's Cape Cod Times review of "Cape Wind: Money, Celebrity, Class, Politics and the Battle for Our Energy Future on Nantucket Sound," just published by Public Affairs Books, provides much food for thought.
While many have praised our book — The New York Times Book Review anointed it an "Editor's Choice" — some will feel differently.
We understand. We name names. That may be unpleasant for those who are named.
We hope to correct a few of Harold's misunderstandings. He believes our book to be about the wind farm per se. We disagree.
Our book is about democracy. Harper's Lewis Lapham nailed that, writing that Cape Wind "joins first-rate investigative reporting with trenchant social commentary; the result is as entertaining as it is instructive."
We respect Harold's claim that Cape Wind may "shed darkness." But others disagree. The publishing industry's Booklist reviewer Donna Seaman calls our book "half-farce, half-political thriller and altogether compelling."
Harold complains that the book is "marketable." Guilty as charged. Let's face it. Electricity is geeky. We love reading geeky stuff, but we wanted our book to be readable. It is.
Boston Magazine calls the book a "page-turner." The Boston Globe has mentioned the book three times, each time emphasizing its joyous aspects. "A laugh riot," writes Globe reviewer Nan Goldberg. "Yes, this book is lots of fun," agrees Globe columnist Alex Beam.
Apparently, fun — like beauty — is in the eye of the beholder.
We leave the task of writing a "serious" book to Chuck Vinick of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound. By now, as head of that august group, he must be one of the field's premier experts.
Harold thinks we are sourpusses with no "stake" in Cape Cod's future. Not so. We own property and have extensive family networks here on our little island-sandbar.
Indeed, Whitcomb comes from the Hatch family, who were Quakers and who originally founded Hatchville in Falmouth. Save for a few fortunate sons, his family members are not "well-heeled," as Harold writes. Neither are they poor. They're just folks, trying to survive in this overdeveloped, traffic-congested seashore Shangri-La so many of us call home.
One last note: When our book was first released in early May, a lot of people were frightened. Our bookstore-manager friends tell us that people buy the book on the q.t., as though it were "Lady Chatterley's Lover" (a book we both confess to reading in our salad days). We were charmed that some thought we had written a pornographic book about Cape Cod.
Recently, though, our manager-friends tell us, people are bolder. They walk in right off the street, buy the book in broad daylight, and carry it off to read on the beach, where all the public can read the title.
And this is exactly what we intended to do: Entertain Cape Codders for the summer season.