Editors: The Art of Amiable Persistence

Though many a U.S. publisher would have mortgaged his mother to buy Svetlana Allilueva Stalina's memoirs, Manhattan's genteel Harper & Row won the prize without even trying. Svetlana's lawyer, Edward S. Greenbaum, simply phoned his old friend Cass Canfield, Harper's chairman. The motive, though, was something more than friendship. What helps Harper to beat all competition for big books by big names is a secret weapon named Evan Welling Thomas 2nd—the amiably persistent editor who has polished more books by important public figures than anyone else in publishing.

In his 22 years...

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