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Did you discuss this with him?
Yes, when he came back from Japan from the War. But
then later on when he was quite well known, the story went
around that he was not quite happy with his publishers, Morrow.
I had lunch with him to talk possibilities one day and we got
along very well. I liked Teddy White, and I'm crazy about
his wife, Nancy (I like girls). Then the two boys who ran
Morrow, Lawrence and Hughes, called me up. They had heard
that White was talking to lots of publishers, and asked me
to have lunch with them. I liked them. I came back to the
office and said to Don, “Listen, we've gotten big enough. We
don't have to go around trying to steal authors from small
publishing houses. There's something degrading about that,
anyway. They've done darned well by Teddy White; and if he
wants to go, he should go to somebody else.” So we dropped out.
Well, when he went to Atheneum, I was a little annoyed
because I figured, “He obviously was going to change, anyway.
I should have pushed him harder.” Of course the book was
The Making of a President. Well, those are the things that
happen in publishing. Sometimes it's common courtesy. Other
times it's bad judgment. In this case it was a combination
of both. If I had known that he was going to leave anyway,
I suppose that I would have been in there pitching with everything
that I had. But that lunch was an expensive one for me.
I don't know if Lawrence or Hughes ever knew that it was
because of our one lunch that I just dropped out of the
Teddy White competition!
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