Assange — known for his passion for transparency and letting all be aired to the public — decided he no longer wanted the book published. This despite already having taken an advance said to be worth hundreds of thousands pounds from Canongate publishers. Assange had worked with a ghost writer to pen the book.
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According to Canongate, it would have simply been a matter of Assange returning the advance for them not to publish the book. Assange however, failed to do so. It is speculated that Assange had spent the advance on his mounting legal fees.
As such, the book is now published with the improbable title, Julian Assange: The Unauthorised Autobiography.
Assange, the Independent reports, had proudly declared prior to the deal with Canongate going sour that the book would explain his “global struggle to force a new relationship between the people and their governments”. He had also said that it would become “one of the unifying documents of our generation”.
Things did not go as Assange wished, however, leading to him declaring that “all memoir is prostitution”. Sources have told the Independent that Assange was unhappy that the book came out more as a memoir and less as a political manifesto.
Despite Assange’s grandiose goals to publish the unifying document of a generation, what will be of most interest of people is his account of the events that led to him facing a number of sexual assault charges, including “sex by surprise” in Sweden. Assange has never spoken publicly about these events.
The Independent has exclusively published extracts from the book, including one dealing with the sexual assault charges.
In one part, Assange writes:
It will be difficult to keep anger out of this account, owing to the sheer level of malice and opportunism that have driven the case against me, but I want to make this argument as much as possible in a spirit of understanding.
Unsurprisingly, the book has also been said to contain bitter diatribes against the New York Times and the Guardian, both newspapers whose relationships with Wikileaks have soured greatly.
Canongate, In describing the book, says “like its author, [it is] passionate, provocative, and opinionated.”