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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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Well, the war went on a little while in Spain and Dave was wounded quite badly. Nobody could get him out. Communications were so faulty. Helen was frantic. She adored her brother. It was her brother who had gotten her interested in leftist causes. She had voted for Herbert Hoover one time. She then was a solid Republican girl from the best society of San Francisco. But now all was changed!

I met her father, Fred Thompson, a charming, wonderful man, who was very interested in his children. He was wondering what had made them be what they were. Instead of being outraged, he was deeply interested. As it turned out, he had an affair, too. He was living with a sister of a painfully social-conscious publisher in New York, a society snob, who looked down his nose at any newcomers in publishing ranks, if you know what I mean. To have a sister living in sin with the father of children like Dave and Helen Thompson was more than he could stand so he cut his sister dead. When I met his sister, it turned out that she was worth forty-eight of her brother; she was a great girl.

An interesting thing... When this elegant publisher's firm broke up, its two best editors came to Random House--one of them is still with us, Albert Erskine. As an editor, I rank Erskine right up there with Maxwell Perkins.

Frank Taylor was the other editor. I wanted Frank Taylor terribly. I had never met Albert Erskine, and Taylor said that Erskine had to come with him. I said, “Let's meet Erskine.” He brought him right to this house that we're talking in now,

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