THE PUBLISHING house of Harcourt Brace Jovanovich has - perhaps depending on the outcome of the gulf war -- one of the hottest books of the year on its hands. Certainly the timeliest.
On March 25, Joe Hyams' "Flight of the Avenger: George Bush at War and In Love" will hit the bookshelves. The war referred to, of course, is not the current Mideast conflict, but World War II. Hyams digs deep to identify the complex man who leads our country -- and the forces that propel him onward. Bush recently told author Hyams: "When it came time for me to send our kids to Panama and later to the Middle East, I thought back on my own experiences and what it was like to be shot at. . . . Those memories were constantly in my mind when we were discussing committing troops and estimating expected combat losses."
Hyams spent many hours interviewing both George and Barbara Bush and his book is said to be rich with previously unpublished, intimate tales. Insiders in the book biz say that not since Don Regan's "For The Record" have they had such immediate advance demand. "Flight of the Avenger" is already into its fourth printing before publication -- 100,000 copies are being shipped out.