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Tuesday
Nov272012

The Week's Trivia--Publish And Perish

This week's trivia question is from the great new biography Ulysses Grant In War and Peace (The Man Who Saved The Union) by H.W. Brands (which I finally managed to finish--700 plus pages; I learned a great deal).

Having been the victim of a 19th century Ponzi scheme (a la Bernie Madoff), Ulysses Grant lost most of his life's savings the year prior to his death.  To assure a flow of money for his wife, even as he battled throat cancer in 1885, he struggled to complete his memoirs which are deemed to be among the best written by a former President.  Equally as interesting is the man who put together a great financial deal for the destitute general in his waning days.  Famous to Americans in another capacity, was this publisher of Grant's autobiography?

A--William Randolph Hearst;

B--Joseph Pulitzer;

C--Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain);

D--Alexander Graham Bell;

or E--Thomas Alva Edison.

Hint--The publisher had a history of financial problems in his own life.  I seem to recall that he wasted a lot of money trying to bring a new-fangled printing press to market, but he got out of the hole by hitting the lecture circuit...in Europe in fact.

Answer--That would be Mark Twain who arranged to sell Grant's work in subscription form even as he was writing it.  Grant finished the work just prior to his death on July 23, 1885.  The book raised enough for Twain to give $400,000 to Grant's widow and keep a tidy profit for himself. 

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