The Press: Whose Bestseller?

It was a minor journalistic coup. North American Newspaper Alliance crowed that on March 8 it would release (in the New York Times and 50 other papers) 18 excerpts from the wartime diaries of Paul Joseph Goebbels. Doubleday & Co., which had sold pieces of the Nazi propagandist's day-by-day jottings to the syndicate, had also scored a coup: Doubleday's 200,000-word version would be the Book-of-the-Month Club selection (700,000 copies) for May.

In Washington, all this drum-beating caught the ear of George Middleton, aging (67) ex-dramatist (Polly with a Past), now a copyright expert in the Office of Alien Property. Middleton began asking...

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