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yesterday--Phyllis grumbling that I was locked up in my
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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