My take on it is that it would be great fun, and most likely would be a book worthy of many hours of browsing. I am behind it, and I will support it however I can within my means.
But the logistics, cost, and politics of the project will be a nightmare. It will more than likely lose money and suffer many complaints about the details of how things were done. It's just how these things go in reality, IME.
So, I think that as much as I am about community in theory and in regards to this Website, what this specific project really needs is a czar-like figure to make all the organizational and logistical decisions, without having to answer to anybody. Democracy be damned; well-advised dictatorship is the way to get a specific project done right...but only if the dictator and his or her advisers are skilled. Therein lies the problem: naming a czar with the raw skill set necessary to get the project not only published, but get it so it is worth looking at...and maybe even break even. The skill most important will be team building – who the czar chooses to surround himself with, and what advice he chooses to take – not necessarily his or her ability to make every decision be the "right" one.
Sean seems like the fitting choice to me. But he is not interested. Nobody else immediately pops out to me. Maybe some sort of compensation (a cut of the gross sales?) would call some suitable volunteers out of the woodwork, or change Sean's mind.
When it comes to selecting work, maybe we could enlist the services of the Freestyle board of photographic professionals to perform the blind selection process, and also get them to sponsor the project, and carry it in the store. (It could be a process similar to how end-of-the-season sports trophies, or "top 100 of all time" lists are decided. Take a hundred submissions, and organize them as a jpeg format "package" that can be delivered to jurists. Ask each jurist to rank their top 10 prints, and assign points for each ranking. Add up the points from each jurist, and select the 50 photos with the most points. I am just making up these numbers as examples. They could be anything.) A group show at Freestyle's gallery could accompany the release of the book. Perhaps a deal can be struck in which once (if) Freestyle are able to recover their investment, the rest can go to APUG. A joint APUG-Freestyle venture. It could work quite well for all involved.