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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
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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