Dear Donald, Dear Bennett: The Wartime Correspondence of Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer (Hardcover)
Donald Klopfer and Bennett Cerf had been partners in Random House for seventeen years, but Donald decided that he had to become a part of an even greater endeavor—the defeat of Nazi Germany. Not long after Pearl Harbor, Donald, who was then forty years old, took a leave from Random House and joined the United States Army Air Forces. He served for two and a half years, finally becoming an intelligence major in a B-24 group in England.
Donald and Bennett wrote to each other regularly all during that period. Bennett sent Donald long newsy letters about the book business—authors, sales, publishing gossip—as well as about what was happening in New York. Donald reacted in his wise, serene way to Bennett’s letters, and conveyed news of what was going on in the war, though sometimes censorship took its toll.
This is nostalgia with substance, and because these letters were never intended to be read by anyone else, they reveal, in a convincing and wonderful way, just how special these two men were and how that specialness was reflected in the company they founded.
About the Author
In 1925, Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer bought the Modern Library from Horace Liveright, and three years later they launched Random House. For more than forty years they personally guided its fortunes, creating one of the most successful publishing companies in America. Cerf died in 1971, Klopfer in 1986.
“My lucky star is a house—and an imaginary one at that.
Rockwell Kent drew it, one day, sitting in my office,
and it was adopted forthwith as
a trade mark for our publishing firm.
We called it Random House because we said
we were going to publish anything under
the sun that came along—if we liked it well enough.
That was in 1928. We’re trying to
make the star burn a little brighter each year.”