i n s t i t u t i o n a l  m e m o r y

part 1

Economics of publishing

KATHERINE MCNAMARA: Bill Strachan, the director of Columbia University Press, talked to me earlier about how things have changed. [see Archipelago, Vol. 2, no. 4] Trade houses, as they really could be called once, used to build their lists from editors’ recommendations; but now, he said, perhaps bitterly, that method has changed. Now, in conglomerate publishing, marketers can have the final say about the list; and in academic publishing, peer-review committees, rather than editors, can reject books.

SAM VAUGHAN: I’m interested, as you know, in the overlap and merging of what were once the duties and standards of university presses with what were once trade standards, and how their borders are as shaky as the Balkans’. It works in different ways in different houses and among the various kinds of publishers. At Random House, the marketing people do not have the final say on which books we publish, by and large. The editor proposes and the Publisher disposes, i.e., says yes or no. At other houses it works the same way; at still others, the marketing voice is loud, and in some cases decisive.

I’m not against the latter, by the way, depending on what kind of book is being considered. With a novel, or a book of poetry, the marketing director should not decide. Where a marketing person becomes publisher you have quite a different situation, of course. But as publisher, a marketing person should not be only a marketing mind, but should take the larger view. If the book at hand is a reference book on trees, say, or Italian cookery, the marketing voice should well be quite strong, especially when you know there are dozens of competitive titles in the marketplace already. I’m surprised, in fact, that the marketers don’t come into the act earlier than they do, at least here.

But, a university press has obligations which a privately-held trade house doesn’t have. As Bill said, I believe, some university presses publish a certain number of regional books to pay their debt to people of the region. That’s an honorable thing to do, and sometimes makes money. But much publishing goes unplanned. The irony is that editors, in the conversations of others in publishing, are usually considered to be not very businesslike, to be a bit crazy, not to be able to add up a column of figures. That’s how we’re stereotyped.

Nonetheless, despite what is said about editors, we take full responsibility for negotiating contracts; for working out the economics in advance, projective economics. As for the list itself: unless there is some directive — “we will do this kind of book,” or “we don’t do that,” which is rare — the list represents the combined interests, contacts, and, sometimes, friendships, of the editors. I think there could be a bit more planning involved, but I hesitate to say it, because maybe that day is coming. Many kinds of publishing you do in a general house, for example, like tending to the back list, are often honored in conversation, but not given very much attention. If you have four or five good gardening books, then you ought to have a couple of gardening books in development at all times, because if you’ve begun to publish in that niche, you want to add to it. And it makes sense to have strength in certain categories, if not in others. So I do think a measure of planning could be introduced in some houses. — But editors fight organization. We’ll always think of ourselves as grossly underpaid, overworked, misunderstood, and downtrodden. Or if not downtrodden, half-trodden; and yet editors, like authors, like poets, are durable.

KATHERINE MCNAMARA: Well, poetry is durable. Editing is durable.

SAM VAUGHAN: Editors feel constantly under attack — but don’t quite get wiped out. They go through convulsions at times, but they are like the theater: Always dying, never quite dead.

KATHERINE MCNAMARA: You said a smart, interesting, amusing thing in your Daedalus piece, about the conglomeratization of publishing. You wrote: “It seems to me that the real risk when ‘nonbook’ people come into publishing is not that they know so little about books, but that they know so little about money.” Would you speak more to that?

SAM VAUGHAN: Well, an example is Harold Geneen, whom I became friendly with when he did a book called MANAGING. Harold Geneen was the principle exponent of conglomeratization. When he ran IT&T he owned several hundred companies. He would meet in Switzerland, monthly, with the heads of his companies, because it was the only way to get them together. He had a brief case for every company. Hal Geneen said to me that he had sold off his book publishing company, because he didn’t understand it.

Now, I don’t know who advised him on the purchase in the first place; but, when you look at the financial history of many publishing houses, it’s no secret that, as we are fond of saying, you can usually do better by putting your money in the bank. Some of the great owners have been asked, in the course of their lives, “Why do you invest your money in book publishing?” The answer is, “Because we want to invest our money in book publishing.”

That’s a statement of a willful, independently wealthy capitalist. And if such a one of them really wants to be in book publishing—

KATHERINE MCNAMARA: —he damn well will!

SAM VAUGHAN: I had a boss once, when I was in my 20s. I got promoted. He took me to lunch. He said, “Now, what makes you think the Doubleday family is going to want to be in books, ten years from now?: And I said, “Because they want to.” I was grateful to him for making me try to think ten years ahead. I was accustomed to thinking about ten minutes ahead.

KATHERINE MCNAMARA: The conventional wisdom is that people don’t think ten years ahead. They think two cycles ahead.

SAM VAUGHAN: That is something I’m not terribly cheerful about. The up-and-at-’em, rattle-dazzle publishers who want to produce a good balance sheet for the next quarter, or the next year, are thinking short-term. They’re not thinking about whether they’re going to leave behind a publishing institution that’s worth more than it was when they found it. And since publishing doesn’t usually respond, even economically, to what you do in a year, or a couple of years, it’s a form of short-term thinking in what is, at heart, a long-term activity. I think there’s a dangerous tendency to want to make this year look good, and next year look good; and not to worry about the people who may have to tend the garden, five or ten or twenty years from now. That may be a sea-change in publishing. I think it probably is.

KATHERINE MCNAMARA: That people are looking at the short term rather than the long term.

SAM VAUGHAN: Yes. Not that they’re looking at the bottom line. There never has been a time when they didn’t look at the bottom line, more or less severely, or more or less myopically. But by putting seed-money down, it will reward you in some years to come, not in the next quarter. Partly, the situation is aggravated by publishing companies going public, where you have to keep an eye on the value of the stock. And as an author once said to me, the stock market is really a paranoid schizophrenic.

KATHERINE MCNAMARA: A paranoid schizophrenic gambler.

SAM VAUGHAN: Yes, right. A Barthelme.

KATHERINE MCNAMARA: Two Barthelmes. (laughter) [see The New Yorker, March 8, 1999]

SAM VAUGHAN: I’ve had the luck in working for family companies, never having to worry about what the stock was doing.

KATHERINE MCNAMARA: Is that true also of Bertelsmann?

SAM VAUGHAN: It seems so. Families are quirky in their own way, but, for example, if publishers were as rapacious as we are often held to be, if we were as money-minded as we are now held to be, books would be published much more quickly. Because if you’re putting out millions to invest in a new list of books, you would think you would want your money back as soon as possible. But publishers insist on taking nine months, or ten months, or twelve months, or five years, to do a book. That’s not very smart, economically, but it’s part of the practice of the business. I can’t understand why someone hasn’t come in on that problem: that you can improve the cash flow by getting the books out sooner. Authors would like it. At least at first. But the books might get under-published, for there are reasons why the process takes a long time, and maybe should.

KATHERINE MCNAMARA: I think there is a certain pressure in some quarters. Not long ago, an editor of my acquaintance, who is young, beautifully educated, smart, publishes very serious books, and runs the adult trade division of a far-flung conglomerate, told me (because I asked him), that he could bring a high rate of return — I think he claimed 15% — while publishing very good books. He did indeed publish very good books, many of which I read. However, the question I didn’t ask, and should have asked, was: “What books have you turned down that you would have liked to have to have taken, because you didn’t think they would earn enough money?”

I suspect this is a more important question, even, than I think it is. It is the sort of question that might have to do with the mid-list authors I hear about so often, whose third or fourth book isn’t being taken by their erstwhile publishers.

SAM VAUGHAN: It is a good question. I’m thinking about the DeLillo novel [UNDERWORLD]. I know an editor who read it in manuscript. She said, “It’s really a very ambitious novel, he’s really out to scoop up a whole handful of this society and culture at this time.” You could tell that she really was quite taken by it. She is one of the very best editors I’ve ever known. And at the end, she decided not to encourage the house to pursue it up the auction ladder. It wasn’t because she was afraid it wouldn’t sell: she was afraid that she might have a lot of trouble selling the book in the house after we bought it.

You see, in effect, a book gets bought by a house more than once. The first time is when the contract is offered. Then it goes off everybody’s screen except the editor’s, for the year, or two years, or five, or ten, it takes the author to write it. It comes back, and, despite the fact that you have a contract, and that the contract may be big, it has to be sold again, in a psychological way. Now, if you’ve put out a lot of money for a book, and everybody knows it, it makes the editor’s task a bit easier. All the flags fly when the book comes through. But that’s for a very few books. The other books have all cost money. But whether the book costs $50,000 or $200,000, that fact, by-and-large, does not persuade anyone in the house. They’ve got to be persuaded by example, by the manuscript itself, ideally. Anyhow, she was concerned that the task of selling it a second time might not work, and she didn’t want to go through that. Scribner’s bought the DeLillo. I think they made something of a success of it. I don’t know whether they made of it a publication commensurate with what it cost them.

KATHERINE MCNAMARA: And, they don’t have a backlist of DeLillo’s books. Everything he wrote is in print, but not at Scribner.

SAM VAUGHAN: That’s a very good point. But on the other hand, it may have been an investment beyond the book itself, to persuade everybody that Scribner is alive and well. There are, sometimes, those extra considerations.

KATHERINE MCNAMARA: Do you think that New York trade publishing is more oriented toward, more interested in, more attentive to, the big book than it used to be?

SAM VAUGHAN: I don’t think so, Katherine. At least, not for so as long as I’ve been around. I’ve just described to you a publishing list of the early 1950s: I mentioned four big books. I’m a typical publishing animal, so I can remember that kind of event. I had instructions from my boss; there were two things I had to do: Get along with the sales manager, and not overspend. I went into see my boss at the beginning of that year, and I said, “There is no way we can do these four books, to say nothing of the rest of them, and not overspend. So, I just want you to know.” He took that all right, because he knew we couldn’t publish a recent ex-president, or couldn’t publish André Malraux, or couldn’t publish a big, important book like the COLUMBIA HISTORICAL PORTRAIT OF NEW YORK, and he couldn’t put the Ruark novel over without—

KATHERINE MCNAMARA: Right. Without investing—

SAM VAUGHAN: — further in publicity, promotion, and advertising. So, chasing the big books at some risk to the others is far from over. On the other hand, if you don’t do that successfully often enough, you don’t have a publishing house to include the other books. It’s commonly thought that the other books pay for the big books. It also can be argued that the big books pay for the other books. Certainly, it can go either way.

In a smaller house, public or private, if they have to put out several big authors in a hurry, the question is, how much money do they have to work with? In a bigger house, there is seldom a real shortage of capital; but there may be constrictions on what you can do in any year. Fortunately, not every book has to be pursued to the same degree. You couldn’t get most authors to agree about that, of course.

The question implied is: What is publishing, if it’s not working hard to make people know about the book? The definition of publishing Marion Boyars used, and that I use, is: “to make known.” It’s not, To make better; it’s not, To make money: it’s to make known. But there are ways of “making known” that don’t cost a great deal of money. They usually cost a lot of time and effort. Because you know there are books where you can hear the jungle drums beating, and it’s not a result of advertising.

Marketing, or selling books

KATHERINE MCNAMARA: When the English publisher said, “Oh, aren’t you market-seeking?”, were you? That is to say, I hear the word “marketing” and I roll my eyes. Is marketing different than, say, advertising, or simply selling? What’s the difference, now, between that, and what you were doing, when you worked for Doubleday selling books?

SAM VAUGHAN: That’s splendid. We share the same annoyance at the word. It’s an attempt to make grandiose what was formerly known as a series of separate functions called selling, promoting, publicizing, advertising, packaging. The use of the word “marketing,” I think, must have been the way, at one point, to get a raise. So, if you’re a marketing manager, you think of yourself as much more than a salesman, or saleswoman.

To give it its due: part of the idea behind the word “marketing” was, in its finest manifestation, to think, not of what you have, or what you are, but: what does the customer need, or want, or can be helped by, or provoked into needing or wanting? That’s a perfectly decent idea; but much nonsense goes on under the heading of marketing. It’s the subduing of importance, in a funny way, of the salesman. I’m using “salesman” as a narrow term.

I used to know the names of all of our sales reps at Doubleday. When I started there, we had ten or 12. We went to 30 or 35; we went to 80 or 90. I don’t know how many they have now; but now they’re corporate sales forces: they sell for the corporations. Therefore, editors have much less contact directly with the sales reps; from the point of view of the editor, contact has been cut off, or cut down. We go through what they call marketing people; and the marketing people speak to the sales people for us, or for themselves.

The old way had its abuses. In that smaller world, you’d go into a room for a sales conference with your reps, and you’d present the books directly to them. It used to be said that a book could be made, or killed, in that room. There was some truth in that. Certainly a book could be made. I saw books made, regularly, by an impassioned presentation, or by a very good one. Whether a book could be killed: I suppose that some books were really damaged by the process; but on the other hand, there was a natural limitation on how negative a sales rep could be, because if he only opened his mouth to say “The book won’t sell,” eventually, he wouldn’t be selling it, or any others.

Now I will join the chorus of the complainers. Our principal form of contact with the sales reps is in the form of the written fact-sheet, which as somebody said, has to be revised four times, and the audio cassette.

KATHERINE MCNAMARA: The fact sheet is not the same as the P&L, the profit-and-loss statement?

SAM VAUGHAN: No, the fact sheet is a basic house description of the book. Calling it a fact sheet, basically, is to glorify it, because editors don’t deal with “facts” so much as hopes, dreams, wishes and lies. It’d make a good movie title, wouldn’t it?

That basic house description is circulated to just about everybody. We also do an audio presentation as a supplement; but that’s all. There are meetings in which we may be in a room with one or two or three marketing people, of whom a couple may be in direct contact with the trade. I think something is lost there. It was a two-way education: we learned from the reps, and they learned from us. They had the smell of the road on them, they came into the room and slapped the dust off their chaps and tied up their horses, and said, “The books on such-and-such are not selling.” We might or might not accept it, but we would take it as a piece of important information; and we were performing the traditional rite of the history of the traveler who would come back and tell you what was going on in China.

On the other hand, some editors were wizards at presenting. There’s a perception in publishing, now, that to present a book, they should be polished and accomplished speakers. Well, there are a few editors who have leaped through the barriers, to talk directly at the sales conference. But some of the best presentations I’ve ever heard were by people who weren’t so terribly good at speaking, but who knew a lot about the book they were doing. Jason Epstein, an editorial genius, is in many ways a terrible presenter, but in many ways a wonderful one, because he knows what he’s talking about and he has such strong opinions.

I remember when Jason started The Anchor Review at Doubleday, in an attempt to run a journal along with the new line of paperbacks. He hired a couple of editors. One of them was Nathan Glazer. I had read THE LONELY CROWD. Glazer came in with his wild, woolly hair and his horn-rimmed glasses, and he sat up there and presented a book. He used phrases like “wrought-iron culture.” It was like a graduate seminar, and I was dazzled. He was the prof. I never had. And it was all part of the ferment. Nathan Glazer wouldn’t stand a chance at a sales conference today.

KATHERINE MCNAMARA: Do you notice that the marketing people have come from someplace that was not devoted to books?

SAM VAUGHAN: When you work in a place like this, you notice that the marketing people are really good readers. There’s a perception that all sales people care about is discounts and commissions and bonuses. But I don’t know many who survive, at least, not in a house like this, who aren’t readers, and who don’t have some basis for their opinions. I’m not saying that all are well-read: I’ll say, They read.

Now, in the old days, sometimes the rep could be negative. But he couldn’t make a living being negative. He might be wrong about the book, but if there’s anyone forgiven for being wrong about the book, it’s the editor. There’s no business that’s so forgiving of mistakes as this one.

KATHERINE MCNAMARA: Why would you say that?

SAM VAUGHAN: Well, how long would you last in television, or movies, or magazines, if you make as many mistakes as we make over the course of a year or two?

KATHERINE MCNAMARA: Do you mean that in editorial or commercial terms?

SAM VAUGHAN: All kinds. If you make a big, noisy mistake, say, getting a house to pay too much for the book, that’s an obvious mistake. If you publish ten promising first novels and none of them rise to the point of ever being more than promising, that’s another kind of mistake. Now this is, or certainly has been, a very forgiving business. Everybody’s worried about profit/loss statements being shown to editors and lashed over their bare backs. I’ve been shown profit/loss statements about my books, I think, twice. They’re used a lot; but I haven’t had them used on me, so to speak. But many editors will talk as if they had been routinely beaten.

Now, I don’t know about all houses. I’ve only worked really, for two. I’ve done some books for other houses, though not from inside. If anything, publishing is really lax, in that regard. I find it interesting, if bracing, and a little chilling, to read the profit/loss statements on the books I’ve handled in any given year. Some books you think have made money, haven’t; some books you think haven’t made money, have. But you get to see the economic components of what went into publishing the book. Doubleday used to own its own presses, still does, and, periodically, we’d be encouraged to fly down to the plants, supposedly to see how the books were being printed. The subterranean motive was to have us see the remainder pile. They used to say, “Well, her novel really did pretty well, it sold 5,000 copies, and we only took 3,000 copies back.” If you walk by 3,000 copies of a book, sitting on skids, you see a lot of paper and glue and press time, to say nothing of the author’s life. It‘s a chilling experience.

Closely-held corporations in the history of publishing

KATHERINE MCNAMARA: You’ve spoken about the differences in working for those three family-held publishing companies that were held, in fact, by different kinds of families: the Doubledays, the Newhouses [former owners of Random House, Inc.], and now — is Bertelsmann A.G. [present owner of Random House, Inc] a family-held corporation? Closely-held, in any case. I’ll suggest that, possibly, the family-held, or the closely-held, corporation is a sort of third entity, in publishing. There is the non-profit, effectively no-profit, press. There is the publishing conglomerate. But the third kind of publisher, the privately-held corporation, is also an interesting kind of entity. It is larger, let’s say, than an independent press; it is a corporation rather than a small company.

SAM VAUGHAN: I think most of the history of the two or three centuries of American trade publishing will be spun out in the story of publishing houses which were privately-held or closely-held. I don’t think publishers became public property to any degree until fairly recently. Even now, I think they’ve become attractive to the investors because they see us as being part of the media world. While we are, to an extent, we also are not; we are related to but don’t quite blend in with the other media. The virtue of working for a privately-held company is that you don’t have to pay attention to the day-to-day or month-to-month vicissitudes of the stock market. This just doesn’t enter into your thinking. But if you’re working for a big publicly-held company and you’re watching stock prices every day, or somebody is, it does get into your thoughts.

KATHERINE MCNAMARA: Or they’re watching return on investment.

SAM VAUGHAN: Yes. And, as I said to you before, it, if the acquiring company has done their homework, and they’ve really used due diligence, they could have seen that almost no book publishing has produced the kind of return on investment that they desire.

KATHERINE MCNAMARA: And it doesn’t change. No matter what anybody does.

SAM VAUGHAN: Hasn’t for a long time.

KATHERINE MCNAMARA: What you say also implies a necessity of a very good back list.

SAM VAUGHAN: Yes, it’s a really big part of it. Year after year, with a good back list, the work of authors and previous publishing people shows how we go on selling those books, and creating a cash flow irrespective of what the new books are doing, which help you to weather the inevitable ups and downs of the charts.

KATHERINE MCNAMARA: Would you speak about your editorial relationship with Doubleday? It was a large corporation, wasn’t it, but, also, it was owned by one family?

SAM VAUGHAN: Yes. It was both, in a funny way, a mom-and-pop shop and a large “impersonal” corporation. It wasn’t impersonal, but people thought it was. I saw a piece in The New Yorker recently, about Goldman, Sachs, one of the great Wall Street houses. A woman said to her boss there, “Look at what I sold this week.” He said to her something like, “We don’t say ‘I’ sell things.” That’s exactly the way it was at Doubleday. I tried never to say I published anything, because I didn’t really believe I did. It was a collective act; but it was also part of the house culture to be respectful of all of the other people involved in publishing, from the printers to the assistants to the sales reps. It wasn’t just the ownership, or the editors.

KATHERINE MCNAMARA: Broadly speaking, do you think that’s changed? That is to say, respect is a difficult attitude to come by, now. The notion of dignity seems to have gone away. Do you have any thoughts about this?

SAM VAUGHAN: I admire your announced theme, or inquiry, of “institutional memory.” Mine is as shaky as most, but I had lunch last week with Eric Major, who is the director of religious publishing at Doubleday, which has always been an important part of our publishing there, as it is not here [at Random House], for example. Eric came to the States from Hodder & Stoughton in London, a house once somewhat similar in makeup to Doubleday. I said him, “I suppose every evidence of the old Doubleday is gone.” He said, “Yes, it has really changed — but there are traces of it in the corridors.” You don’t eradicate the traces very easily.

I think one of the most profound changes in publishing is, in effect, the disappearance of family names, the name that meant a family, from the spine of the book. Usually, when a book said Harper it meant Harper, and therefore, a kind of book; not a rigid category, but a kind of standard. Or there was Lippincott, or Scribner’s, or Doubleday. Lists had a shape and a coloration. Harper in the Cass Canfield-Mike Bessie-Evan Thomas heyday had a lock on public affairs books: they published a lot of the Democrats in office, because Cass was an important Democrat. Doubleday insisted that it didn’t have any politics, or any religion, meaning any single one, but you could tell the lists had a certain distinction, along with a great deal of out-and-out commercial publishing. Nowadays, we’re all after the same books. Again, I’m over-generalizing.

KATHERINE MCNAMARA: You mean you’re after the same types of books?

SAM VAUGHAN: Types of books, and, sometimes, literally the same books. You can’t tell much about who the house is, and much about the general run of publishers, with distinctive exceptions: New Directions, Farrar, Strauss, and, to an extent, Knopf, but I’m still not getting at what really counts. With the disappearance of the names — well, the names may remain but the people who bore them are not there. All of the standards and fancies and prejudices of the people who owned the name are gone. It used to be that, as I say, a house wouldn’t do a certain kind of book because it wasn’t “us.” These days, I don’t see that happening. Also, there was an air in the well-known houses of — I don’t know if noblesse oblige is the word or not. We felt we had a duty to publish poetry, for instance. We might or might not have had certain editors who loved poetry, but the attitude of the house was that we published some poetry; I don’t see that, currently, in many places.

The Publisher

KATHERINE MCNAMARA: Would you talk about your term, or your stay, at Doubleday? You were not only an editor, but also editor-in-chief and publisher. What did you do you, how did you manage, that triune obligation?

SAM VAUGHAN: I think I told you I worked in several departments before I got to editing books. I wanted to edit books; but I’m far from sorry I worked in other departments. And, eventually, I was executive editor, which meant, in those days, number two. I thought in due course I could become the editor-in-chief. But when the general manager of the Doubleday division left to go to Houghton Mifflin, a man named David Replogle (like the globes), I inquired of his superior the names on the list of candidates. I wanted see whether they included people I could live with. He showed me the list and asked, “Do you want to be on it?” I said I hadn’t thought of that. He put my name on the list, and they offered me a job as publisher.

Nicely enough, the title of publisher had not been used since the time of the original Frank Nelson Doubleday, who founded the company. The term “publisher” was not commonly used in trade publishing at that point, though it’s now used everywhere. To be called a publisher was kind of an honorific; it was something people said about you, rather than what you said about yourself. But it was so nice of them that I accepted. It pleased the ham in me. But I said, “I will only do it if I can continue to edit some books every year, because I don’t want to be divorced from editing. I like the craft part of it.” So, that was the deal. I did it for about a dozen years, and then I did become editor-in-chief, which was really a lateral move, but they wanted to get me out of the chair I was in. And I did that for a couple of years, until I decided to leave.

KATHERINE MCNAMARA: I will quote to you from something you wrote: “Among the roles of the publisher are to help console the author during the temper tantrums, to soothe his paranoia, to stimulate him when he is blocked, and so on.”

SAM VAUGHAN: I resisted the title of publisher in part because I always felt that the publisher was the person who put up the money. Somebody has to pay for all of this exercise. Then I came to realize that that power or authority could be delegated to you, so I was really delegated to spend Mr. Doubleday’s money, or the family’s money, by investing in several hundred new books each year, and tending to that big back list I mentioned. The way I saw the role was like how Fitzgerald, in a wonderful passage in THE LAST TYCOON, understood the studio system. He said something like this: “You can take Hollywood for granted like I did, or you can dismiss it with the contempt we reserve for what we don’t understand. It can be understood, too, but only dimly and in flashes. Not half a dozen men have ever been able to keep the whole equation of pictures in their heads.”

And the equation of the publishing business is what I think I understood, and what the publisher is asked to understand and to deal with. It is the major elements that the publisher can affect. I liked all parts of publishing. I like the editorial job; I like the publishing and promotion, the advertising job; I like the sales jobs. It was important to me to give everybody a fair shake. I used to have a weekly publishing meeting, which I was asked to run, because Mr. Doubleday wanted to be sure that everybody’s point of view should be represented who had a right to be heard. I had no trouble with that. That’s the way Eisenhower ran his cabinet, and the way I don’t think a cabinet has been run since, which is: everybody has a right to speak on any aspect they want, but in the end, you know where the buck stops, and where you say yes or no. I liked the power, if you will, of saying yes more than anything else about the job. I was willing to use that power to say no. I tried to say it as rarely as possible, but you had to, sometimes. I also liked the chance to let everybody be heard. Because when you have six or seven or eight departments represented, you’re beginning to get a little cross-section of America. As Mr. Clinton would say, “It’s inclusive.”

The publisher has to have some role in maintaining standards. That is, is the book good enough of its kind? Now in a big house you can’t know all of the books, so you have to bet on the people rather than the books.

KATHERINE MCNAMARA: “The people” meaning, your people.

SAM VAUGHAN: Right. There were some people, some editors, say, who were sponsoring books whose word I would take absolutely; and there were others I might have some question about. But if the house has standards….

We were once confronted with a proposal to publish, or reprint, the official Nazi Party handbook. It was so banal and so bureaucratic, so much a run-of-the-the-mill sort of document, that it was chilling. What really pleased me was that a young editor came into my office after our meeting. He was steamed! I thought he was going to take my head off. He said, “You can’t publish that book!” I said, “Why not?” And he said, “It’s a terrible book! If it gets into the wrong hands it would—” His name was Mark Haefele. I explained to Mark that the question of that particular grotesquerie in history had been much discussed at the time of MEIN KAMPF, when Houghton Mifflin was offered it. They had decided to do it, but I think not without a lot of debate. I said, “We’ve decided not to publish this Nazi Party handbook, but not for the reason you give. Yes, it might fall into the wrong hands, but it will also fall into the right hands, and it will show how bureaucratically, how systematically evil can be organized.”

KATHERINE MCNAMARA: And why did you decide not to do it?

SAM VAUGHAN: It was a question of a crowded list, and how much attention would we have to give it? You’d spend a lot of time explaining it away, I guess. But I was pleased with him for caring.

KATHERINE MCNAMARA: Along that line, are there books or authors you passed on that you later regret having lost, or not having chosen?

SAM VAUGHAN: Sure. I’m afraid the list would be longer than I care to remember. One of them was just a simple business decision: I was friendly with a writer named Jim Fixx. I knew him when he had just been fired as the editor of Life magazine. I said, “What are you doing?” He said, “Not much, I’ve joined Mensa just for the hell of it.” I said, “What’s that like?” And he said, “It’s not too tough. You don’t have to be all that smart.” So I said, “You know, Jim, if you have nothing to do, we have some interesting books on back list involving games. You might do a book of games for super-intelligent people, who are really smart, and believe it.” He did that. He wrote a little book called GAMES FOR THE SUPERINTELLIGENT. It sold a lot of copies, and so we did a second.

Next, he sent a proposal for a book about running. His agent wanted some outrageous sum of money, $25,000 or $35,000. As it happened, I knew something about running. Now, a publisher should guard his ignorance; but I had a friend who was an expert in running and track and field; I’d been hearing about running for years; and therefore, I thought the running wave had come and curled and crashed. So I decided not to put the money up. The book became a number one best-seller for Random House. I wrote him a letter saying, “It looks like I goofed.” That’s the type of book that you turn down with no great issue involved. But I think you want something more profound than that.

KATHERINE MCNAMARA: I am thinking for example about Mike Bessie turning down Frantz Fanon’s THE WRETCHED OF THE EARTH, which is still a bit of a scandal, I suppose, in that household. [See Archipelago, Vol. 1, No. 4] He also turned down LOLITA. You didn’t turn down LOLITA; or did you?

SAM VAUGHAN: LOLITA was, in effect, declined but I didn’t personally do it. Did I tell you it had been previewed by Jason Epstein in the Anchor Review? Well, it is interesting, because it does reflect on that “house culture” business. I first heard about LOLITA from Jason; I think I was in sales then. He gave me the Olympia Press edition. I read it over a weekend. I thought it was pretty interesting, not very pornographic, certainly not terribly erotic. But the talk about it was, it was dirty. Jason was doing a periodical then, a journal called the Anchor Review, in the Anchorbooks format. He put a piece of it in the Anchor Review, I think to sort of test-fly it. But it didn’t succeed, because the word had proceeded the book that it was really dirty or pornographic, so he wasn’t allowed to do it.

Now, you take that decision for what it is; but there’s also background. Not many years before, the same house [Doubleday] — I wasn’t there then — published Edmund Wilson’s MEMOIRS OF HECATE COUNTY, a novel which was also accused of being scandalous or pornographic. The house defended it in the Supreme Court, I think, or the Supreme Court of New York State; and lost. They lost in court, and, I guess, lost on appeal, or couldn’t appeal, I don’t know which; but the book couldn’t be sold in New York, for quite awhile. I think that experience soured the chairman, who was himself a lawyer. I think he had gone to the mat for the earlier book, and he didn’t want that exhaustion and expense, and also, being typecast, again. Now, I’m giving this to you secondhand. So, you see, there was a context for the declining of LOLITA.

KATHERINE MCNAMARA: What comes to mind is that book by John de St. Jorre about the Olympia Press, VENUS BOUND. A little sideline: I remember when The New Yorker published the chapter from that book about Dominique Aury as being the real author of THE STORY OF O. My husband [Lee Goerner, late editor and publisher of Atheneum] and I were having dinner with an Italian publisher, who said, “Why did they publish that chapter? We all knew she was the one.“ Lee and I looked at each other and looked away. We didn’t know.

SAM VAUGHAN: I loved working with St. Jorre on his book because it was written in so cheerful a manner. It was great fun; it was full of publishing lore. I didn’t think it would sell very well, because the number of people interested in the backstage lore of publishing did not seem to be enormous.

KATHERINE MCNAMARA: I notice that readers do seem to follow this series in Archipelago of conversations with publishers; so I think, yes, there is some sort of interest. I can’t put my finger on it, except that people want to know how things work. Not necessarily technically — they want to know who these people are.

SAM VAUGHAN: I think you’re right. It’s become much more so as publishing people get to be much more visible. It used to be part of the compact that you stayed out of sight, that the “gentlemanly” publishers didn’t care to be identified. You were publishing your authors; they were the ones who went public. But that has all gone by the board. The celebrity editor is a feature of the current scene. Michael Korda’s book [ANOTHER LIFE] is coming out here [at Random House], and the expectation is that he will sell very well, because he’s a good storyteller.

KATHERINE MCNAMARA: He is, in a certain way, a popular writer.

SAM VAUGHAN: Yes I think that’s true, and I don’t think he is striving for any more than that.

The editor, “retired”

KATHERINE MCNAMARA: Would you repeat what Jason Epstein said about retiring?

SAM VAUGHAN: The reason we were chuckling about Jason was, he said “in retirement” he only wanted to do about eight or ten books a year. Well, if you want to have eight or ten published books a year, you have to be working with 30 or 40 or 50 authors, because they don’t all deliver at the same time. Some authors take a year to write a book, and some take a lifetime. Your network, or your stable, or whatever unlovely image you use, has to be fairly sizable. This has nothing to do with the things that come in under the heading of serendipity.

Throughout most of my working life as an editor, I felt I should produce between ten and 20 published books a year. Some years more, some years less. Increasingly, it’s become a matter of doing less, partly because the amount of preparation time each book takes is much more than it used to take. You want to produce enough books to pay your way; but you also cannot produce as many books as you might, say, edit, because editing is not the sum total of what you do. You have to reserve part of your time and energy for the promotion of that book, and the author of that book, within the house, and then a certain amount of it outside the house. At the moment, I’m only working on three or four books actively, which are in some stage of publication or other. Ordinarily, it would be many more.

I had a book a couple of years ago by a super photographer, on pickup trucks. If the agent had sent it to me six weeks before, I would have sent it right back. But in the intervening six weeks, I had been West with my sons, and my youngest son was crazy to have a pickup truck, and that dialed me into the American love of that particular kind of vehicle. And so we did a book which was a-typical for me, and it sold extremely well, which is a-typical for me. That’s strictly serendipitous.

KATHERINE MCNAMARA: This is worth saying, too: you’ve talked about how authors really don’t like to know that their editor is working with other writers.

SAM VAUGHAN: Ideally, not. The writer wants to think that he or she is the editor’s—

KATHERINE MCNAMARA: —the editor’s only love!

SAM VAUGHAN: He might have a couple of others, in principle. But, as one of my authors, Fannie Flagg, says: “Don’t tell me about the others! You may have other people, but I don’t want to hear about them, or their work!” That’s understandable. A writer wants almost exclusivity. The writer wants prompt response, which I’ve never been good at, but the editor who reads the manuscript overnight is beloved by his author. There are some, like Bob Gottlieb and others, who will do that, or will do it on occasion.

What I try to practice is what I call the ‘slap-and-pat’ theory of editing. Almost everything that’s written needs some criticism. Almost everything that’s written needs some praise, or deserves some praise. So you try to mix praise with criticism. Ideally, you do it sincerely. That is, you don’t praise what you really don’t like; but you praise what you really do like. You don’t write 12 pages of things that are wrong, without remembering to find something else you like, that is already right. There’s a theory of editing that says you should read with a pencil in your hand; and there’s an opposing theory which says you should put the pencil away. I do it sometimes one way, and sometimes the other.

Occasionally, there is a manuscript which doesn’t need a thing. That has happened, in the years I’ve been doing this, two or three times. I wish I could retrieve the authors’ names: they deserve to be enshrined. There is a kind of writer who is thoroughly professional. One of my mentors, Lee Barker, really admired the ‘thoroughly professional writer.’ The one who doesn’t whine. The one who delivers on time. The one who delivers a clean manuscript — which used to be more of a problem than it is now. The one who doesn’t need a lot of line-by-line work. I’ve had the happy experience of reading something and saying, “This will do fine.” But most things — some of the best things — do deserve some talking over and/or working over.

KATHERINE MCNAMARA: In one of your pieces, you quoted Robert Giroux on the difference between line editing and book editing. Giroux said: “The truth is that editing lines is not necessarily the same as editing a book. A book is a much more complicated entity and totality than the sum of its lines alone. Its structural integrity, the relation and proportions of its parts, and its total impact could escape even a conscientious editor exclusively intent on vetting the book line by line.”

SAM VAUGHAN: I’m still a little shocked by the fact that some editors, apparently, feel that they only have to do the big stuff, and they leave the lines for somebody else. You can leave it for the copy editor. I have great regard for copy editors: they make the author and the editor respectable. But I don’t leave anything undone on a manuscript that I think I can do, even if I overlap with the copy editor. Now, my sense of punctuation is as erratic as the next guy’s. But some other things I think I know something about.

One colleague of mine, Betty Prashker, said she likes to edit the author’s head: by which she means, the kind of editing she enjoys is talking over the manuscript with the author. That’s distinct from laying a hand on the manuscript. And I like that, too, although I’ve never found it wholly satisfying; but it’s terribly important, and there are some editors who seem to practice their trade that way.

Some editors are demon line-editors. The danger Bob Giroux speaks of there is, you can spend a lot of time in the trees, and miss you-know-what. I’m beginning to edit a novel right now. I’ve talked it over with the author. I’m now going to write him a ruminative kind of paper, and talk it over further, because talking with him at first has clarified his intentions, and therefore, my thoughts; and so, I’m going to do a gabby paper which will go further with that process. Then, he will revise and extend what he’s done, and he’ll give it to me again, and I’ll begin to edit, coming in closer on lines. It’s kind of a long way around, but it works for him and me. I will edit it several times. And he is a famous, very professional writer.

KATHERINE MCNAMARA: I can imagine how many writers will read what you’ve just said, and sigh.

SAM VAUGHAN: There is a lot of useful wasting of time between the writer and the editor. I told you we went last night to see this tribute to Mike Nichols, at the Lincoln Center Film Society, and they were talking about how effective he is as a director. He uses a lot of metaphors, he quotes from a lot of other people, and he quotes from a lot of movies. He doesn’t tell actors how to act: he tries to put things in their heads which will bring out the best in them. That’s analogous to a certain part of editing. You just have to talk for a while; or, if you can’t get together, write back and forth, and see what erupts. By the way, the art of letter writing is not dead; it’s alive and well.

KATHERINE MCNAMARA: You like writing. It’s clear in the publications you’ve been good enough to send me: there’s an obvious pleasure in the sentences.

SAM VAUGHAN: I do find pleasure in the play of language and ideas. I also write, as many people have said before me, to find out what I have to say. I write to clarify my own thoughts, or to bring some order to them. Recently, I sent a young scholar-writer an e-mail letter, talking about her book; and, 24 hours later, sent her another one, which turned out to be the one I should have written in the first place. But having written a decidedly imperfect one the day before, that second one helped me to crystallize what I really wanted to encourage her to do. And she said so; but that was fine — she was ready to quit after the first letter, and she was happy after the second.

The community of the book

KATHERINE MCNAMARA: I’d like to ask the question, “Do we have literary culture?” But I think I’ll alter it because I like very much your expression “the community of the book.” Would you speak about that?

SAM VAUGHAN: Well, I don’t want to grapple with whether we have a literary culture. It usually satisfies a need, speaking of needs, of certain writers and publishing people to think we have a culture that is antagonistic to the writer, to the poet or painter. But, quite apart from that, to whatever degree it’s true or false, we do have a community of the book. If you take the librarians and the teachers and the booksellers, and the writers and the editors and publishers of all stripes, and the people connected with the process at one remove, the printers or sales reps: they all, when you press them against the wall, would say they are in favor of the book. There’s a kind of friendliness toward the book; there’s still a kind of respect that the book doesn’t always deserve. Even though we don’t elevate our writers to the status of the National Academy of France very often, there’s still a kind of automatic respect for the book — which I think we are eroding, by the way, with promiscuous publishing and promiscuous writing. But it’s still there.

KATHERINE MCNAMARA: Would you illustrate what you just said?

SAM VAUGHAN: Well, at the moment, I’m very conscious about having read last week a book-industry study-group report which says that the sales of the general trade books are off by three percent from the previous year, something like that. So far, we haven’t heard the beating of the breasts, which is the favorite background music of publishing. I flip through the pages of the Times Book Review, and I find it basically boring. And if I find it boring — and I make my life out of it — what must other people think of it? We all have civilian friends who are not part of an active literary culture, but they are literate, and they read books, and they’re not slaves to reading, but they want books as part of their lives. One of them said to me one day, about certain people who were getting a lot of attention, “Who are these people? Why should we pay attention?” That’s not a bad question.

Also, there’s a question of the book’s reliability. Once, a reader tended to believe more of what was in a book than was in the Daily News or the National Enquirer. That was based on the research necessary, the time and art a book required. These years, we are publishing books by well-known authors, books of presumed facts, which are as unreliable, as “unsourced,” as the Internet. There is much talk about how journalistic standards have slipped. Whether that’s true or not, there are writers and editors who don’t seem to have a grasp of even the most rudimentary journalistic standards.

KATHERINE MCNAMARA: You wrote an article for Daedalus called “The Community of the Book,” which opens: “The community of the book, it seems safe to assume, consists of those for whom the written word, especially as expressed in printed and bound volumes, is of the first importance. Little else may be safely assumed, including the question of whether it is, in fact, a community.”

It’s a lovely piece, and perhaps replies to my earlier question as well as any response might. I was quite taken, as well, by this: “Let’s look briefly at two of our common concerns — reading and, that neglected and maligned figure, the reader.” In all of this, your special concern has been for the reader. You are very much, I think, as an editor, on the side of the reader: not as opposed to the writer, by any means, but, you’re definitely there for the reader.

SAM VAUGHAN: Well, I think the reader has rights. They have the right to say, “I like it” or “I don’t.” They don’t have to articulate why. They have the right, in most cases, to clear writing, not willful obfuscation. There’s a difference, as you well know, between the subtleties of art and what I see is an almost perversely obscure style on the part of some writers. Readers are usually willing to work pretty hard, especially if they’ve bought the book and taken it home. The idea of the coffee table book that sits there unread: I never have believed that. If you like to read, and you’ve paid 30 bucks for a book, you’re going to work pretty hard to read it. In all the criticisms of publishing and our consumer society, there’s not enough standing-up for the reader. The reader doesn’t have a single voice.

KATHERINE MCNAMARA: Nor should it be a single voice. There should be any number of voices.

SAM VAUGHAN: Right. Readers have the power of the purse, and when they exercise it negatively, I can’t get angry. Also, another thing, and I think it’s related, because I think there’s a value which makes the reader not just a reader. The reader completes the creative act, closes the circuit. The writer puts down words which attempt to convey a vision or a version of reality, say, and the reader follows through, finishes the vision, and of course affects it. It is a creative act complementary to the writer’s original act. We all know that novels, poems, essays and short stories compete with movies and plays and television and so forth. Many people participate in all of those, or lots of them. They go in and out of them with varying degrees of intensity. I’m one of them. I go to the theater not at all for two years, and then I go to five plays. If the theater can hold me, I keep going back, and if it disappoints me, I turn away, at least for awhile. I think that happens with books, too. There is a moment where you look at the papers and you say, “There’s not a movie I want to see!” You look at television and say, “There’s nothing on that I want to see.” You look at the book pages and say, “There’s nothing I want to read.” We are really trying to say something more than that.

KATHERINE MCNAMARA: There are surely books that you haven’t read that you mean to.

SAM VAUGHAN: Oh, really. (laughter)

KATHERINE MCNAMARA: Let’s say you can go into book-hibernation this summer: what would you read?

SAM VAUGHAN: Well, at the moment, I’m not waiting for the summer, or hibernation, which may never come. I’m listening to a series of tapes, in the car, of lectures by acclaimed professors of the intellectual tradition of the West, about which I can tell you not three sentences. It starts with Acquinas and goes through Machiavelli, so far, in whom I’m deeply interested, by the way. There is a great blank in my education, and so, this is part of ‘high school at home’ or, ‘college at home.’ I’m enjoying them so far, and I hope to continue. That’s because I don’t have much personal reading time, but the car is useful. The recorded cassette, by the way, the audio cassette, limped along for years and didn’t catch on. Something caused it to catch on a few years back; I don’t know what it was.

KATHERINE MCNAMARA: Yes; but it has caught on. I often travel long distances by car, and recently began listening to taped books while driving. That is how I came to hear Jeremy Irons read LOLITA. He has a voice every bit as beautiful as James Mason’s, yet very different from it, and, it seems to me, is reading that extraordinary novel with the most perfect intonation. Now I’m listening to a BBC production of the New Testament. I’ve never read the New Testament entire, and listening to it (perhaps because of those British accents) helps me understand a bit better why Nietzsche disliked Christianity. I’m surprised at that. The Gospel of St. John, on the other hand, is lovable. I’ve listened, also, to Shelby Foote read his book about the siege of Natchez. Once certain books were available unabridged on tape, I began to listen.

SAM VAUGHAN: It would be a good thing for all of us, not as duty, but because it feels good, to start each day, as some writers do, with a reading of the Old Testament; or, by listening to it. It is good in the same way that symphonic or classical music clears the mind and the head and the soul, all at once. It makes life seem more orderly and also longer-range, beyond the moment. You get a feeling of continuity when you absorb some of that beauty and serenity.



In late May of this year, Bertelsmann A. G., the German publishing corporation that owns Random House, Inc. (including Knopf, Random House, Vintage, Pantheon, and other imprints) and Doubleday/Bantam/Dell (which includes other imprints, as well), announced that several formerly quite distinct imprints (“units,” the New York Times called them) would be combined, including the distinguished but quite different paperback imprints Vintage (part of Knopf) and Anchor (part of Doubleday), which will have one director. Said the Times: “Critics call the move a triumph of corporate organization over literary values.” While no doubt over-simplifying the matter, the Times’ alarm was muted compared to the dismay heard among various editors and agents. In particular, women I spoke to were unhappy because so few of their sex remained at the highest levels. I phoned Sam Vaughan to ask what he knew about the reorganization, and what he thought about it. A man who, perhaps above all else that he stands for, wishes to speak accurately, he was reluctant to comment publicly before all the facts were in.


(Selected) publications by Samuel S. Vaughan:

Books for Children:

WHOEVER HEARD OF KANGAROO EGGS? (New York: Doubleday, 1957 & London: World’s Work)

NEW SHOES (New York: Doubleday, 1961 & London: World’s Work)

THE TWO-THIRTY BIRD (W.W. Norton, 1965. Reprinted by Grossett & Dunlap,

Science Service, and Young Reader’s Press)

Other Books:

LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD (Pseudonymous; illus. Tony Ross.) (Doubleday, 1979)

THE LITTLE CHURCH (Privately published history, 1969)

Principal author, THE ACCIDENTAL PROFESSION (Association of American Publishers, 1979)

MEDIUM RARE: A Look at the Book and Its People (Bowker, 1977)


Articles in The New York Times, The Sunday Times (London), etc.

Essays and notes on, inter alia, William Goyen, George Garrett, Wallace Stegner, Willlie

“The Lion” Smith, William F. Buckley

“Letter from the Editor,” EDITORS ON EDITING, ed. Gerald Gross (Harper, 1985)

“The State of the Heart.” THE BUSINESS OF BOOK PUBLISHING (Westview Press, 1985)

“The Community of the Book,” Daedalus, 1983. Reprinted in READING IN THE ‘80s

(Bowker, 1983) and in LIBRARY LIT The Best of 1984 (Scarecrow Press, 1984)

“The Question of Biography” (with Daniel Boorstin, Edmund Morris, James Thomas Flexner,

David McCullough), BIOGRAPHY AND BOOKS (Library of Congress, 1985)

“The Magic is in the Mysteries,” MY FIRST YEAR IN BOOK PUBLISHING, ed. Lisa Healey

(Walker, 1994)

(Some of the) Authors Sam Vaughan has edited or published:

Diane Ackerman, Shana Alexander, Stephen Ambrose, Patrick Anderson, Bernard Asbell, Isaac Asimov, Laurence Barrett, Dave Barry, Brendan Behan, Ezra Taft Benson, Bill Bradley, Brassaï, William F. Buckley, Jr., Herb Caen, Hortense Calisher, Bruce Catton, Charlotte Chandler/Fellini, Joanne Ciulla, George Cuomo, Max Eastman, Dwight D., Milton, and John S.D. Eisenhower, Duke Ellington, Paul Erdman, Fannie Flagg, Sarah Gainham, Ernest K. Gann, Larry Gelbart, Winston Graham, George Garrett, Ruth Gordon, William Goyen, Hannah Green, Josh Greenfield, Leonard Gross, Arthur Hailey, Alex Haley, Marilyn Harris, William Harrison, W.C. Heinz, Mohamed Heikal, Patty Hearst, Thor Heyerdahl, Sir Edmund Hillary, Rolaine Hochstein, Hubert H. Humphrey, J.R. Humphreys, Hammond Innes, Roger Kahn, Garson Kanin, Dr. Fred Kantrowitz, Richard Ketchum, Marvin Kitman, Stephen King, F. Sionil José, Eric Larabee, Gordon Lish, Alistair MacLean, D. Keith Mano, Kai Maristed, John Bartlow Martin, Martin Mayer, Eugene McCarthy, James Michener, James Mills, Gilbert Millstein, Malvin Moscow, Edmund Muskie, Paul Nagel, N. Richard Nash, David Niven, Louis Nizer, William Abrahams & the O. Henry Prize Stories, Jake Page, William Paley, Joe Paterno, Stanley Pottinger, Jean-Francois Revel, Nelson Rockefeller, William Safire, Pierre Salinger, Harrison Salisbury, Jonathan Schwartz, Winfield Townley Scott, W.B. Seitz, Israel Shenker, Bud Shrake, Nancy Sinatra, David Slavitt, Wilbur Smith, Elizabeth Spencer, Wallace Stegner, Alma Stone, Irving Stone, Lewis L. Strauss, Gay Talese, Alexander Theroux, Tommy Thompson, Ann Thwaite, Henri Troyat, Margaret Truman, Leon Uris, Immanuel Velikovsky, Earl Warren, Peter Watson, Tom Wicker, Paul Wilkes, Lauren Wolk, Yevtushenko.

Books Mentioned in this Article:

American Medical Association, GRAY’S ANATOMY OF THE HUMAN BODY


American Red Cross Staff, RED CROSS HANDBOOKS

Bernard Asbell, THE F.D.R. MEMOIRS


Ezra Taft Benson, FREEDOM TO FARM


Joseph Conrad, LORD JIM

______, THE RESCUE

______, VICTORY

______, YOUTH

______, ROMANCE


Theodore Dreiser, SISTER CARRIE

Dwight D. Eisenhower, CRUSADE IN EUROPE


Edna Ferber, CIMARRON

______, GIANT

______, ICE PALACE


______, SHOW BOAT

______, SO BIG

F. Scott Fitzgerald, THE LAST TYCOON





Charles Frazier, COLD MOUNTAIN

George Garrett, THE DEATH OF THE FOX





______, MILES TO GO: Aging in Rural Virginia

Sarah Glasscock, ANNA L.M.N.O.

Nathan Glazer and Daniel Patrick Moynihan, BEYOND THE MELTING POT

______, David Riesman, Reuel Denney, THE LONELY CROWD




______, ROOTS

Adolph Hitler, MEIN KAMPF

Aldous Huxley, EYELESS IN GAZA

Peter Jennings, THE CENTURY

Rudyard Kipling, THE JUNGLE BOOKS

______, KIM






Michael Korda, ANOTHER LIFE

Sinclair Lewis, BABBITT

Richard Llewellyn, MR. HAMISH GLEAVE


W. Somerset Maugham, CAKES AND ALE



Vladimir Nabokov, LOLITA


Pauline Réage, THE STORY OF O.

David Riesman, Nathan Glazer, Reuel Denney THE LONELY CROWD



John de St. Jorre, VENUS BOUND








William Hollingsworth Whyte, THE ORGANIZATION MAN



Leon Uris, EXODUS

Related articles:

Conversation with Marion Boyars, Vol. 1, No. 3

Conversation with Cornelia and Michael Bessie, Vol. 1, No. 4; and Vol. 2, No. 1

Conversation with William Strachan, Vol. 2, No. 4

George Garrett, “Whatever He Says Is Gospel”

Endnotes: “On Memory”


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