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Dear Donald, Dear Bennett: The Wartime Correspondence of Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer Hardcover – March 5, 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1st edition (March 5, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 037550768X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375507687
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #464,990 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Published to celebrate Random's 75th anniversary, this book collects the correspondence between Random cofounders Klopfer who joined the air force in 1941 and relates the horrors of war and Cerf whose letters document Random's growing business.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Between 1942 and 1945, Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer, founding partners of Random House publishing company, enjoyed a lively, witty, and intelligent brand of correspondence. After Klopfer enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Forces, Cerf kept the publishing wheels grinding while keeping his cherished friend and business associate well informed as to the ensuing literary happenings and mishaps on the home front. Klopfer, an intelligence officer stationed in a B-24 group flying out of England, relayed his wartime experiences and kept his finger in the book business by offering his own opinions, commentaries, and advice to Cerf. The almost daily correspondence that flourished between these two dedicated bibliophiles provides a fascinating overview of a unique partnership, a firsthand glimpse into a glamorous bygone era of publishing, and an intimate portrait of two respected giants of the literary world. Margaret Flanagan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By William B. Arledge on May 30, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I waited for a few months for this book to come out, and was truly not disappointed. Of course, I believe that you must be a hardcore Bennett Cerf fan to enjoy it. If you are not a Cerf fan, the book is still an interesting capsule of the World War II era. My obsession with Mr. Cerf began with "What's My Line", I have since obtained most of his books. I recommend reading "At Random", Bennett's recollections of working at Random House Publishing. When you know the story behind these two gentleman, you will appreciate this book more. Mr. Cerf ran in several circles, and it shows in the book. It would be an interesting contrast to have this go against a modern day publishing house letter exchange. Reading this gives the feel of the day. It seemed that the business world, even though still busy, was much more laid back. The letters these two friends mailed back and forth really show the value of personal written communication, a waning part of relationships.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By chris meesey Food Czar on September 22, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Before browsing through Dear Donald, Dear Bennett, the reader should immediately peruse a copy of At Random, Bennett Cerf's memoirs, so he has a chance of understanding what he is reading in this book. I can't believe Random House would treat the personal letters of their founders in such a shabby fashion. Virtually no footnotes, no annotation, no index---nothing. They might as well be putting out the memoirs of Anna Nicole Smith, rather than the keepers of one of the great literary storehouses of the twentieth century. Before spending any money assembling this volume for publication (if indeed they spent any at all!), the editors should have acquired a copy of The Noel Coward Diaries and followed it religiously as a guide. In that volume, Graham Payn and Sheridan Morely obviously spent months poring over every inch of copy, meticulously footnoting each and every name and archane reference so that upon completion, the reader would easily be able to tell the difference between Bob Menzies and Bobby Andrews, the Duke of Kent from the Duke of Windsor, and easily tell whether Sir Noel was writing about Elizabeth Taylor the film star, Elizabeth Taylor the English novelist, or Elizabeth Taylor the non-celebrity dear friend to Coward's inner circle. Here, the editors (who are unnamed and rightly so) merely say that Saxe Commins was a senior editor at Random House and Robert Haas a partner without furthur definition. (More time is spent discussing the typeface of this volume than virtually anything else.) Most readers of these letters would be interested in the details such annotation would provide. Yes, the letters do paint a wonderful picture of the day-to-day operations of the company, the trials and tribulations of America at war, and the deep affection between the two men. It's a shame the present-day editors at Random House did not see fit to put together a better tribute of their founding fathers.
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