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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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That was one of the first of our spectacular war books. Later came Guadalcanal Diary and Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo. There was a whole series of them.

Q:

Do you think that there's room right now for war books? I mean the Green Berets was a war book.

Cerf:

There's a different atmosphere today. World War II was a great world conflict. In the Second World War, everybody in America knew that we had to win that war. That was a “must” war and what we call a popular war. No war is popular, but everybody knew that we had to fight that one.

The Vietnam War is something else again. I think that most of the young people in this country think it's an outrage and that we have no business over there...something that I myself believe with all of my heart and soul. I think that we're getting in deeper and deeper. We're too vulnerable now. We're spread out all over the world. Our enemies will be prodding us from all sides. It's disgraceful, horrible.

The only kind of books on Vietnam that we can get to publish are ones bitterly opposing the whole thing. People say, “You're one-sided.” I always say, “Find me a good book on the other side.” People who know how to write are all against Vietnam, it seems. I can't find one who's for it.

I think I told you that one of my worries about publishing is that while we think that we're shaping public opinion, we're really not because people only read books that agree with what they already believe. I went through all this.



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