As surely as crocuses and daffodils signal the first signs of spring, political books popping up on store shelves are one sign of an impending election season. It's become a rite of passage for politicians and a telltale sign one is running for election.
But this election season will see an entirely new crop of books hit the shelves. In addition to the requisite political bio or manifesto by the likes of candidates including Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz and former Governor Jeb Bush, there will be a new category in the pub world: the anti-Hillary book.
Hillary Rodham Clinton has dominated the Democratic race and is almost certain to win the party's nomination, making her the focus of attention, praise - and plenty of attacks. Borne of the anti-Hillary movement is a bevy of books taking aim at the former Secretary of State.
Foremost among them is “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich,” by Peter Schweizer, a former speech-writing consultant to George W. Bush.
Due to hit shelves May 5, "Clinton Cash" has set the political world buzzing with its claim that in exchange for donations to the Clinton Foundation, foreign entities received favors from the Clinton-led State Department, according to reporting by The New York Times, which was given an advance copy of the book and ran a piece on it Sunday.
“We will see a pattern of financial transactions involving the Clintons that occurred contemporaneous with favorable U.S. policy decisions benefiting those providing the funds,” Mr. Schweizer writes in his introduction.
According to the Times, he goes on to chronicle several examples of quid pro quos, including a free trade agreement in Colombia that benefited a donor's natural resource investments there, and "more than $1 million in payments to Mr. Clinton by a Canadian bank and major shareholder in the Keystone XL oil pipeline around the time the project was being debated in the State Department."
"I think there are things that went on at the Clinton Foundation that are going to shock people," Republican Rand Paul, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee which received a breifing on the book, and who is also running for his party's nomination, told Fox News. "And I think they're going to make people question whether or not she ought to run for president."
While it's not yet clear whether author Schweizer succeeds in drawing direct links between Foundation donations and favors curried in exchange, the book may still succeed at denting Clinton's image, especially in light of the recent email-gate scandal.
And it's just one of a bevy of books expected to attempt to take down the Democratic frontrunner.
Edward Klein’s “Blood Feud,” about a rivalry between the Obamas and the Clintons, briefly overtook Hillary Clinton's own book, "Hard Choices," on the New York Times bestseller list.
Daniel Halper’s “Clinton Inc.: The Audacious Rebuilding of a Political Machine," paints a picture of a ruthless and strategic political power couple's return to power in Washington.
Aaron Klein's “The Real Benghazi Story: What the White House and Hillary Don’t Want You to Know," attempted to reignite controversy about the attacks on the Libyan embassy in Benghazi in 2012 in which U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens was killed.
While this trio of books received relatively less attention and were skewered for their sometimes outrageous claims, "Clinton Cash," however, is being taken more seriously.
"[T]he newly assembled Clinton campaign team is planning a full-court press to diminish the book as yet another conservative hit job," writes the Times, which calls the book "meticulously document[ed]."
It will likely be the first of many books Clinton's campaign team will be confronted with this election.