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1974 Interview with Rudy Maxa of the Washington Post

Interview Transcript - Part 1




QUIGLEY: "...the year, which would be to the end of '44,
and by that time we were ready to take over and move them in and so forth.
Now, in that group there were fifty-five who already had Ph.D.s.
You see.”


QUIGLEY: “So it was a very good group.
The only one I had any trouble with
had been a district attorney in Indiana and a Republican politician."

INTERVIEWER: "Ha, ha, ha."

QUIGLEY: "And I had trouble with him over certain things.
For example, the civil war in Spain.
I gave him the truth of the civil war in Spain.
I mean, this was not a Communist revolt against the Catholic Church
or something like this, you see.
And that was what this guy was.
So, uh, this is the substance of the book ʻTragedy and Hopeʼ.
Do you see?"

INTERVIEWER: "Did you know while you were working on this that [it was going to be a book]?

QUIGLEY: “No, no. I was just trying, uh, you know”


QUIGLEY: “Keep a day to day basis.”

INTERVIEWER: “You realized that at the end of the accumulation, of research and...?”

QUIGLEY: “Well, yes, I knew, uh,
I knew a hell of a lot more about most of this than most people.
Now, I then spent 20 years writing it -- from ʼ45 to ʼ65.
And put it in, do you see, in ʻ65. In the meantime, I had written a shorter book
which fifteen publishers had rejected. And I had set it aside.
I had, wrote it the first time in the only summer I had off, which was 1942.
In that whole period, I went twenty years without any time off.
No sabbaticals, no anything. From ʼ42 to, uh, ʼ60, ʼ61,
when I took off and went to England and did research.
And then I got another sabbatical in ʼ71,
when I again went to England on a sabbatical.
And I only... So... The only sabbatical time.
Whether I get it or not, I have asked for a one semester sabbatical before I retire,
that is assuming I get full pay for one semester, you see, instead of half pay,
or whatever it is. I donʼt know what it is.
And I canʼt even look it... I donʼt have time, time to look it up.
But in any case, I, uh, worked out all of these things.
And, my first book had been rejected by fifteen publishers.
I had written it first in the summer of ʼ34;
I then spent the summer of ʼ42 in Princeton, in Donald Staufferʼs [office]
-- and he died as Eastman Professor of Literature at Oxford,
after climbing the Pyranees, running up and down the Pyranees --
and, uh, I re-wrote it in ʼ42. Then, I set that aside and wrote it a third time
-- just dashed it off -- and that is the book “The Evolution of Civilizationsʼ
-- itʼs only 279 pages, but itʼs still the best thing,
and there are a number of books that quoted it as the best thing
on why civilizations rise and fall, and how they do, and so forth.
So itʼs a big thing.
Now this, uh, “World Since 1914” covers seventy years, from 1895 to 1965,
and itʼs in that way, but it covers the whole world, so again itʼs a pretty big thing,
because it goes into science and technology, as you will discover,
if you start reading the paperback, and, uh, economics, and as you see,
I can do more with economics than economists, economists can.”

INTERVIEWER: “One thing that intrigues me, more on just that
(last night my wife and I were talking about you),
was the title of the book:ʻTragedy and Hopeʼ”.

QUIGLEY: “ʼ...And Hopeʼ. Yes. Because I...”

INTERVIEWER: “Such a large title.”

QUIGLEY: “Yes. Now what it means is this: I think it is absolutely tragic, it is shameful,
it is sinful that Western Civilization is going to go down the drain.
When I wrote that book, which was less than ten years ago,
I had hoped that we could save Western Civilization.
I am extremely skeptical now that it can be saved.
I think weʼre just about finished.
And I just threw a few things out here this morning in the class.
You know, you know, if we are going to allow a coal strike
and if we are gonna overthrow the Portuguese government.
Because as soon as, all these military dictatorships are not going to last.
So we get rid of a democracy because it wants to be a little liberal,
and we put in a military dictatorship which then collapses
and what happens? The Communists come in.
This is what happened in Portugal. Salazar was there since 1927. You see?
All right, now they suddenly try to establish some kind of a non-military
dictatorship -- he wasnʼt military, he was a college professor,
but he was supported by, uh, the reactionary groups.
And now they want to do something about that.
And the same thing could happen in Greece.
Theyʼre now gonna, probably, in Greece try these generals
who established the military dictatorship because we got them to do it. You see.
And, this gives the Communists -- and it could well be --
now this is whatʼs worrying Kissinger, he thinks the whole Mediterranean
now is going to go Communist. So weʼre going to go to war to prevent this?
Oh, I mean, itʼs sick.”

INTERVIEWER: “Now, let me go back.”

QUIGLEY: “Yeah. Now...”

INTERVIEWER: “When did you find a publisher for your book?”

QUIGLEY: “I found a publisher instantly, because the first book, the first book
-- Iʼm a, Iʼm in Current History, an editor,
and I wrote, used to write, a good deal for them.
(And thatʼs who called me up on Monday
and wants me to write about Spain to-day. Whatʼs gonna happen in Spain
and I said, I, it would take too much time, I donʼt want to do it).
So the people at Current History said to me, in 1960.
I, uh, just mentioned that I had this book.
(I have many books, I have a whole lot of books,
half written and almost totally written, you see).
And they said, ʻHave you ever given, asked Peter Ritner?ʼ
And I said, ʻI never heard of him. Who is he?ʼ
They said, ʻCall him up, at Macmillanʼ. So I went right to the ʻphone
-- I was at the American Historical Association in New York, the meeting of 1960 --
and I went to the ʻphone and called Macmillan and asked for Peter Ritner
and he came on, and I said ʻI have a book and I have somebody here
whoʼs the editor of Current History who says that you would like it.ʼ And so forth.
He says ʻSend it to me.” A week later I got a letter from him:
ʻItʼs a marvelous bookʼ”.

INTERVIEWER: “How many pages did you send him?”

QUIGLEY: “I sent him the whole thing.”

INTERVIEWER: “Which was?”

QUIGLEY: “And, well...”


QUIGLEY: “Yeah. Just about...”


QUIGLEY: “It came out as a book of 279 pages. He accepted it within a week.”

INTERVIEWER: “Which book is this now?”

QUIGLEY: “This is the first book.”

INTERVIEWER: “The first book. O.K.”

QUIGLEY: “Right.”


QUIGLEY: “This is in 1961. Youʼll find all of this in Whoʼs Who? You see. The dates. You see.”

INTERVIEWER: “All right.”

QUIGLEY: “That is how I got my first book published.
Now when I signed the contract for that, 1961,”


QUIGLEY: “They, uh, made me agree I would give them my next book.”


QUIGLEY: “You see. So in a couple of years I said to Peter Ritner
that I want the next book to be ʻThe World Since 1914ʼ
and he said ʻO.K., letʼs sign a contact.ʼ”

INTERVIEWER: “Did he say anything like ʻThatʼs a rather large subjectʼ?”

QUIGLEY: “Uh, Peter Ritner thinks I am the greatest writer ever around.”

INTERVIEWER: “O.K. Is he an editor?”

QUIGLEY: “Heʼs a scholar. Thatʼs who. You see.
Now hereʼs what happened.
And I donʼt know whether you want to get this on tape or not.
But Iʼll put it on tape. But look. Youʼve gotta be discrete.”


QUIGLEY: “You know, you have to protect my future.”


QUIGLEY: “As well as your own.”


QUIGLEY: “ All right. Ah, when ʻTragedy and Hopeʼ was signed, the contract,
and right up to the last minute, which would be the spring and summer of ʻ66,
they were planning to bring it out in two volumes, boxed, for $17.50.”


QUIGLEY: “Macmillan had been bought by, from Harold Macmillan,
at Macmillan Company of England,”


QUIGLEY: “for $5 million. Because he needed the cash. In the summer of ʻ66,
a holding company, Collier Books, which originally was Morgan,
and they published Collierʼs Magazine. Remember Collierʼs Weekly?
And stuff like? All right. Collierʼs Books. Now, I donʼt know who controls it now.
And, itʼs one of these holding companies.”


QUIGLEY: “Came in. They bought up the Free Press, you know, in Illinois.
They bought up Brentano Book Stores. They bought up Macmillan.
They came in and they looked at what theyʼd bought and they said
ʻYouʼre spending money wildly and weʼre not taking in money.
You got to stop it.ʼ”

INTERVIEWER: “The accountants did that?”

QUIGLEY: “Yeah. So they said ʻNo advertising on any books that are published
for the next six months. You spent too much on advertising.ʼ
And, the editors like Peter Ritner screamed and said
ʻWeʼre not going to stay if this is how youʼre gonna do things.ʼ
So they said ʻAll right. One ad for each book.ʼ
All right, I got one ad for ʻTragedy and Hopeʼ,
and it was a quarter page in The New York Times Book Review, I believe.
Thatʼs all.”

INTERVIEWER: “How do you spell Ritnerʼs name?ʼ

QUIGLEY: “R-I-T-N-E-R, Peter Ritner. He, I imagine heʼs in “Whoʼs Who?ʼ. Uh, he should
be. Anyway, he has since left them. I do not know what he is doing.
He still lives in the same place that I visited him in, in Riverside Drive,
up near the George Washington Bridge.
But he works for some World Book, uh, thing. Or something.”

INTERVIEWER: “Third World Publishers?”

QUIGLEY: “Eh, Something else. And what he does I donʼt know,
because heʼs never got in touch with me since he left.”

INTERVIEWER: “And they also did not come out with the two volumes.”

QUIGLEY: “No. And then, when they saw it,
they said ʻOh, this is gonna cost too much.
Cut it to one volume and cut the price five bucksʼ.
So they, that made it $12.50.
But they never sold it at $12.50. They made it $12.95.
So this is what it was sold.
Now, it went out of print, that was ʼ66, it went out of print in ʼ68.
But in ʻ68 Collier Books got in touch with me,
I do not know how or why,
and said, uh, ʻWeʼll bring out the last half of this as a paperbackʼ,
and thatʼs what I gave you. That came out in ʼ68.”


QUIGLEY: “And that, I think, is still in print.
But I canʼt get an answer. I canʼt get a straight answer to any question,
from them. For example: They never told me until 1974,
when I was trying to fight the pirate who reprinted ʻTragedy and Hopeʼ,”


QUIGLEY: “that it had been out-of-print. Theyʼd told me itʼs out-of-stock
and we will re-publish when we get two thousand [orders].
But they never could get two thousand (I have told you this, havenʼt I?)”


QUIGLEY: “because they were telling everyone who wrote in that it is out of print.”


QUIGLEY: They lied to me.”

INTERVIEWER: “Now, when did you realize there was a pirate edition?
How did you find out?”

QUIGLEY: “I found out...”

End of  Transcript - Part 1

Continue to Transcript - Part 2

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