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A Book of the Month

January 04, 1987

We were very pleased to see our great admiration for Robert Hughes' new book about the founding of Australia, "The Fatal Shore," confirmed by your critic, Carolyn See (View, Nov. 24). But we were puzzled to receive the review so early--and to read in her opening paragraph that the book is "only a Book-of-the-Month Club Alternate" selection and that she would "be surprised if 'The Fatal Shore' even gets a sales campaign, and surely a few thousand readers at most will ever crack its handsome binding."

On Aug. 14, Knopf sent out a special telegram advising that The-Book-of-the-Month Club had boosted "The Fatal Shore" from an Alternate Selection to a Main Selection and that the publication date would be changed from November to January. Further, Knopf has established a first printing of 25,000 copies, with the kind of major campaign that goes with such a position.

While we certainly appreciate See's good words, we do want to call to the attention of your readers the fact that, far from being a modest book on our list, it is and always has been one of our leading titles--in fact, one of the finest we have ever published. Finished books will be in your local stores, by the way, this month.

WILLIAM T. LOVERD

Vice President

Director of Publicity

Alfred A. Knopf Inc.

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