David Schoenbrun, Bennett Cerf, and Barbara Tuchman

Sunday, January 16, 1966

This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.

Maurice Dolbier welcomes journalist Janet Flanner, Genet, to the podium to introduce David Schoenbrun, author of the biography "The Three Lives of Charles De Gaulle." Schienbrum pays tribute to the other speakers on the dais, and makes connections between his work and theirs. He then tells several funny stories relating to De Gaulle. He speaks of De Gaulle's perception of his own ancestors. He makes it clear that he does not believe another war such as World War II will ever happen again, and that the men who took part in the war were also completely unique.

Next, Dolbier introduces publisher Bennett Cerf, author of "Laugh Day." He reminds the audience that laughter is very important.Cerf notes that he believes American's under rate themselves - he tells a couple of stories about the nice people he has met during his travels around the country. The first story is about the president of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque and an instructor's five year old son. The next story takes place at the Neiman Marcus in Dallas, TX. He encourages people to help one another and be kind. He endorses John Lindsey at the end of his speech.

Finally, Barbara Tuchman, author of "The Proud Tower," a book describing the world before the first World War. Several references are made to another of her books, "The Guns of August." She discusses the role of the historian. She laments the use of the term "non-fiction" to describe her work, and wishes that the term "realitor" had not be taken by those who work in the sale of land. She takes exception to the dictionary definition of fiction, which places imagination at odds with fact. She discusses the elements of writing: language, structure.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 71336
Municipal archives id: T1741

Hosted by:

Maurice Dolbier


Bennett Cerf, Janet Flanner, David Schoenbrun and Barbara Wertheim Tuchman


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About Books and Authors Luncheon

Hear, first-hand, the thoughts and voices of some of the greatest thinkers, adventurers, and characters of our nation.

Legendary New York Herald-Tribune book review editor Irita Van Doren, moderator of the series [1949-1968], has an intellectual largesse and a genuine interest in the American literary arts, which produces engaging, sometimes off-beat discussions with both first-time and veteran authors. 

In addition to literary writers like Louis Auchincloss, James Michener, and Rachel Carson, listeners are enthralled by nonliterary experts speaking on their autobiographies.  Sammy Davis, Jr., expounds on Yes, I Can!; burlesque star Gypsy Rose Lee entertains audiences while promoting Gypsy, A Memoir; and sociologist Vance Packard defends his groundbreaking exposé on advertising, The Hidden Persuaders. 

Those notable personalities join a slew of others like Steve Allen, Marian Anderson, Bennett Cerf, Noel Coward, Jules Feiffer, Edna Ferber, A. E. Hotchner, Fannie Hurst, Jane Jacobs, Somerset Maugham, Vladimir Nabokov, Gore Vidal, Jessamyn West, and Marguerite Young.  An indispensable catalog of craft talk and biographical context, the New York Herald-Tribune Books and Authors Luncheon series explores all manner of disciplines and issues in American arts and history.


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