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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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One time, for example, a manuscript by Honor Tracy came in called The Straight and Narrow Path, which is a story of the Irish Catholic Church. Honor Tracy is an Irish woman.


You told about that.


I said, “We're right across the street from the Cathedral and there's going to be trouble.” Don said, “All right, don't do it; but don't you ever tell me again that you're a liberal publisher.” That's all that he had to say to me. Of course, the book was a great success, and the Church never lifted a finger.


Now I wonder if you'd like to tell me about the book Witness by Whittaker Chambers. I'm sure there are some interesting stories about that. How did you get that?


We had hired an editor named David McDowell. The man who sent him up to us was Sterling North, who used to be a leading book editor and then became an author on his own. Sterling was an old friend of mine. He called me up and said, “Davy McDowell”--who had been with some other publisher--"is now out of a job.” He thought that he'd be a great editor. He came up. He's a very polished Southern boy, a very intellectual fellow; and we liked him and we gave him a job.

Dave is rather on the conservative side. One day he told me, “Whittaker Chambers is downstairs to talk about his book.”

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