Speaking Freely: My Life in Publishing and Human Rights

Speaking Freely: My Life in Publishing and Human Rights

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What do Dr. Seuss, William Faulkner, Toni Morrison, Andrei Sakharov, and James Michener have in common? They were all published by Bob Bernstein during his twenty-five-year run as president of Random House, before he brought the dissidents Liu Binyan, Jacobo Timerman, Natan Sharansky, and V clav Havel to worldwide attention in his role as the father of modern human rights.

Starting as an office boy at Simon & Schuster in 1946, Bernstein moved to Random House in 1956 and succeeded Bennett Cerf as president ten years later. The rest is publishing and human rights history.

In a charming and self-effacing work, Bernstein reflects for the first time on his fairy tale publishing career, hobnobbing with Truman Capote and E.L. Doctorow; conspiring with Kay Thompson on the Eloise series; attending a rally for Random House author George McGovern with film star Claudette Colbert; and working with publishing luminaries including Dick Simon, Alfred Knopf, Robert Gottlieb, Andr Schiffrin, Peter Osnos, Susan Peterson, and Jason Epstein as Bernstein grew Random House from a $40 million to an $800 million-plus "money making juggernaut," as Thomas Maier called it in his biography of Random House owner Si Newhouse. In a book sure to be savored by anyone who has worked in the publishing industry, fought for human rights, or wondered how Theodor Geisel became Dr. Seuss, Speaking Freely beautifully captures a bygone era in the book industry and the first crucial years of a worldwide movement to protect free speech and challenge tyranny around the globe.

Author: Robert L. Bernstein
Publisher: New Press
Published: 05/10/2016
Pages: 240
Binding Type: Hardcover
Weight: 1.50lbs
Size: 9.40h x 6.10w x 1.30d
ISBN: 9781620971710

Review Citation(s):
Kirkus Reviews 02/15/2016
Publishers Weekly 04/01/2016 pg. 83
Choice 10/01/2016

About the Author

Robert L. Bernstein served as the president of Random House for twenty-five years. After being sent to Moscow as part of a delegation of American publishers in 1973, he established the organization that became Human Rights Watch. He was the author of Speaking Freely: My Life in Publishing and Human Rights (The New Press).