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Sound Of Silence?

September 21, 1986|David Pecchia and Elizabeth Garo

Is there a conspiracy to ignore "Dark Victory" (due out from Viking Press Oct. 7), Dan E. Moldea's account of alleged wheelings and dealings by MCA, the Mob and an actor named Ronald Reagan?

The author thinks so.

The book spans several decades but focuses on Reagan's presidency of the Screen Actors Guild during the early '50s when MCA (which repped Reagan) was granted a so-called "blanket waiver" that enabled the talent agency to cast its entertainers in shows they also produced. There were screams of "conflict of interest" as MCA soon dominated the entertainment industry. At the same time, mobsters were reputed to hold the real power in certain show business unions.

"A friend who's well connected (at the White House) said their strategy will be to ignore the book--unless it takes off," said Moldea. "And if that happens, expect lawsuits." But Moldea claims to be unworried--"The book is solid and they'll look bad (if they sue)."

"The 'Today' show," Moldea said, wouldn't book him ("They don't want to attack Reagan unless it's absolutely necessary"). The Literary Guild and Book of the Month Club have ignored the book, despite a favorable review in Publisher's Weekly. Such publications as the New York Times Magazine, Playboy and the Atlantic Monthly have passed on both excerpts and reviews, said the author.

"Today" book editor Emily Boxer told Outtakes, "There are 40,000 books published each year and we have room for only 300 of them. There is no conspiracy."

A Literary Guild spokesman said that the book club wouldn't comment. A rep for the Book of the Month Club said the organization passed because "we don't think it (the book) will do well." Mitchell Levitas, Time magazine book editor, said the magazine doesn't reveal intentions regarding reviews and a Playboy rep said that the editors were unavailable.

Mike Curtis, Atlantic senior book editor, said he was unfamiliar with Moldea's book but that his magazine is not afraid to take on Reagan: "We published something while Reagan was governor of California concerning alleged ties with the Mafia and have had many pieces critical of his Administration."

No reviewer has been assigned yet by our Book Review.

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