Publishing sources say the book, completed just three weeks ago and out Sept. 8, is titled “The War Within: A Secret White House History 2006-2008.”
The book's revelations are likely to propel a re-examination of the Iraq war into the headlines just as the fall presidential campaign is taking off.
Woodward has had remarkable cooperation from all levels of the Bush administration, with National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley encouraging top officials to participate.
Administration officials tell Politico that Woodward spent two mornings with President Bush and interviewed Vice President Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and a host of other senior officials.
Woodward has regularly visited the White House, State Department, Pentagon, various intelligence agencies and the private homes of generals and other officials, high and low.
The Washington Post, where Woodward is an associate editor, will print juicy excerpts the day before the book’s publication.
Under a rollout orchestrated by his literary representative, Washington super-lawyer Robert Barnett, Woodward will also appear on CBS’s “60 Minutes” the night before the book comes out.
On the Simon & Schuster and Amazon websites, the book is still listed as simply, “Untitled on Bush, Volume IV.” The title was first reported by The Associated Press.
The cover art — consisting entirely of stately red, white, blue and gold lettering — is seen here for the first time. “Cover to be unveiled,” the websites say.
The book, initially listed as 352 pages, wound up at 496. The first printing is 900,000 hardback copies, printed at heavy extra expense because of the late-breaking close, the publishing sources said.
White House officials say they are optimistic that the book, which the publisher says “declassifies the secrets of America's political and military involvement in Iraq,” will reflect more favorably on Bush than Woodward’s previous volume, “State of Denial,” which came out in September 2006.
The president’s surge strategy for Iraq, albeit late, has slowed the violence on the ground, and Bush aides believe the book will reflect that.
As usual, though, Woodward is holding his cards close. Even officials who have discussed the project with him repeatedly are uncertain how Bush will look. The title suggests a heavy dose of administration infighting.
Alice Mayhew, editorial director of Simon & Schuster and the book’s editor, said in a statement: “There has not been such an authoritative and intimate account of presidential decision making since the Nixon tapes and the Pentagon Papers. This is the declassification of what went on in secret, behind the scenes.”
The book is Woodward's 15th. Eleven have been No. 1 national nonfiction best-sellers, including the first three in this series — "Bush at War" (2002), "Plan of Attack" (2004) and "State of Denial" (2006).