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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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yesterday--Phyllis grumbling that I was locked up in my room.

When Try and Stop Me came out, this was no pocketbook. It was a great, big, wholloping hit. As I say, it was number one for months. Then we did a wartime edition and millions of additional copies were sent to the soldiers because it was just the kind of book they appreciated. It made them laugh. Then I began selling individual chapters to various magazines so my name became even better known.


You say that this led to other things--when you were talking about the War.


The first thing that happened to Random because of the War was the result of paper rationing. This had a very important effect on Random House as follows. We had been working on a book called The Selected Works of St. Thomas Aquinas. A man named Tony Pegis undertook to edit this for us. The only way that the works of Aquinas were available at this time was in a great big set of some twenty-four to twenty-six volumes put out by a Catholic publishing house named Benzinger. That was the only way you could buy St. Thomas Aquinas. Pegis finished his job a little while after the War started. He had made a two volume book, about 1200 pages each, it was a fine job but it required a lot of paper. I figured that 10,000 sets would last us for five years--two volumes. I think it came out at $7.50 then.

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