|Now: why do I enjoy the story so much? Because, about three
or four or five months ago, there was a long story about Rupert Murdoch in The New Yorker
by Ken Auletta, and Rupert tells this story entirely differently: he had the idea for the
Gorbachev book! So you see, history corrects itself.
KM (laughing): The first time as tragedy; the second time, as
MICHAEL BESSIE: And either time,
its profitable! (General laughter.)
CORNELIA BESSIE: You hope.
MICHAEL BESSIE: That book was an
immense success, it made a lot of money. It made millions. We had enormous foreign rights
-- it was an immensely successful book. It was more than a book, it was an event.
CORNELIA BESSIE: Is this the moment
for comic relief?
KATHERINE MCNAMARA: Yes, it is.
CORNELIA BESSIE: He [indicating MB] is still in London--
MICHAEL BESSIE: Collins [respected British publishing house bought by Murdoch and merged with Harper
& Row] had the printing plant in Scotland--
CORNELIA BESSIE: What Gorbachev
wanted: he didnt argue about money; the one thing that he really wanted was to have
it published on the 70th anniversary of the Revolution.
MICHAEL BESSIE: So it had to be
published on November 1.
CORNELIA BESSIE: And this was
MICHAEL BESSIE: And I said it
couldnt be done. And he said, Well, it has to be. So we called London,
and Ian Chapman said, Of course it can be done, in our plant here.
CORNELIA BESSIE: Actually, that was
fudged; but thats another story. Officially, we published on the day we had
So: he is still in London. Im in New York.
Theyve had these excited calls from London, so theyre now, more or less,
paying a little bit of attention. Theres a meeting.