Home
Search transcripts:    Advanced Search
Notable New     Yorkers
Select     Notable New Yorker
Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
Photo Gallery
Transcript

Session:         Page of 1029

Cerf:

I'll get to that myself.

But we began publishing a few books on war subjects.

Q:

Guadalcanal Diary.

Cerf:

Guadalcanal Diary being a notable example. That was an example of energetic publishing because King Features got the manuscript. Dick Tregaskis was a King Features reporter and for Hearst and UPI. They got the manuscript and acted as agent for it. Chester Weil represented King Features, and he sent nine copies--this is not usually done but he had nine copies made of the manuscripts--to nine publishers at the same time, saying, “What would you bid for this?”

Well, I had just said, the day before he sent this out, “The first book that comes out about Guadalcanal is going to be a knockout,” because Guadalcanal marked the turning of the tide. In came this manuscript. I took it home, read it immediately, and called Chester Weil at nine o'clock the next morning and said, “I've got to have this book.” We signed it up before any of the other eight publishers had even started reading it. This was luck. As I told you, I've been a lucky bastard all of my life.

Q:

Do you remember what you bought it for?

Cerf:

No...not much. The author was absolutely unknown



© 2006 Columbia University Libraries | Oral History Research Office | Rights and Permissions | Help