Books: What It Takes

The very-bestseller of 1948 was not The Naked and the Dead after all. Norman Mailer's big, raw war novel (TIME, May 10) had held the lead all summer and much of the fall, sold 125,000 copies. But by New Year's Day, Mailer had lost the race. The man who passed him in the stretch was an old hand at turning out bestsellers. Lloyd C. Douglas' The, Big Fisherman (TIME, Nov. 22)—a novel about Saint Peter—had hit the stands in mid-November, sold a whopping 350,000 copies in a scant six weeks.

As Critic Ralph Thompson...

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