The Millions asked six editors to share a story about their first buy, encouraging them to reflect on the projects themselves and what they were thinking at the time: their vision of where their list should go and the risk, fear, excitement or challenges involved. Here are their stories.
Scott Moyers, Vice President and Publisher of The Penguin Press
I spoke by phone with Moyers, who recalls the sense of initiative behind his first acquisition: “I felt like I was reaching out into the world and creating something.” He had been an assistant at Doubleday for four years before making a “huge leap” to Associate Editor at Scribner. Going after projects was difficult because as a new editor, he “didn’t know many agents and didn’t expect to get a first crack at many projects.” More…
Thomas E. Ricks is the author of The Gamble, Fiasco, and The Generals. Full Bio
Captain William DePuy and the 90th Division in Normandy, Summer 1944
Captain William DePuy of the 90th Division saw it all in northwestern France in the summer of 1944.
On June 13, 1944, a few days after the 90th Infantry Division went into action against the Germans in Normandy, Lt. Gen. J. Lawton Collins, to whom the division reported, went on foot to check on his men. “We could locate no regimental or battalion headquarters,” he recalled with dismay. “No shelling was going on, nor any fighting that we could observe.” This was an ominous sign, as the Battle of Normandy was far from decided, and the Wehrmacht was still trying to push the Americans, British, and Canadians, who had landed a week earlier, back into the sea.
The 90th’s assistant division commander, Brig. Gen. “Hanging Sam” Williams, also was looking for the leader of his green division. He found the division commander, Brig. Gen. Jay MacKelvie, sheltered from enemy fire, huddling in a drainage ditch along the base of a hedgerow. “Goddammit, General, you can’t lead this division hiding in that goddamn hole,” Williams shouted. “Go back to the CP. Get the hell out of that hole and go to your vehicle. Walk to it, or you’ll have this goddamn division wading in the English Channel.” The message did not take. Within just a few days the division was bogged down and veering close to passivity. “Orders may have been issued to attack, but no attacks took place,” remembered DePuy. “Nothing really happened. Infantry leaders were totally exhausted and in a daze. There was a pervasive feeling of hopelessness.” More…