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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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when a new director was elected. I won't go into that. When the Knopfs came back, Pat announced that he had made a deal with Mike Bessie. Alfred said, “How dare you make a deal without my approval,” although he had already given it. He said, “I want to meet him.” Well, Mike Bessie is a pretty arrogant young man, and Alfred is the kind of man who immediately puts an applicant on his metal. If you've got any guts, immediately the hackles rise when Alfred starts riding over you.

The meeting was a disaster. When Mike went out, he announced, “I won't work here.” Alfred told Pat, “I won't have him.” This was too much. Pat had made the deal with Mike, who had already told Harper's he was leaving.

They decided then that they were going to go off on their own. It was a very wise decision because Atheneum was an immediate success.


That they have done is terrific. I mean, you've got to hand...


Superb. Atheneum today is like Random House was. They've got their own business. They are going to succumb. They're getting bigger all of the time. The day is going to come when somebody's going to buy them. You wait and see. They are at the stage where we were when we were having our greatest fun. They are still the size they can handle personally. A little bit bigger and...bingo. Hiram is no longer there. It's now Bessie and Knopf. Pat had the ability all the time. He just needed a place to show it.

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