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At Random

by Bennett Cerf Christopher Cerf

"I've got the name for our publishing operation. We just said we were going to publish a few books on the side at random. Let's call it Random House." So recounts Bennett Cerf in this wonderfully amusing memoir of the making of a great publishing house. An incomparable raconteur, possessed of an irrepressible wit and an abiding love of books and authors, Cerf brilliantly evokes the heady days of Random House's first decades. Part of the vanguard of young New York publishers who revolutionized the book business in the 1920s and '30s, Cerf helped usher in publishing's golden age. Cerf was a true personality, whose other pursuits (columnist, anthologist, author, lecturer, radio host, collector of jokes and anecdotes, perennial judge of the Miss America pageant, and panelist on What's My Line?) helped shape his reputation as a man of boundless energy and enthusiasm and brought unprecedented attention to his company and to his authors. At once a rare behind-the-scenes account of book publishing and a fascinating portrait of four decades' worth of legendary authors, from James Joyce and William Faulkner to Ralph Ellison and Eudora Welty, At Random is a feast for bibliophiles and anyone who's ever wondered what goes on inside a publishing house.

Encyclopedia Paranoiaca

by Henry Beard Christopher Cerf

IGNORE THIS BOOK AT YOUR PERIL! Did you know that carrots cause blindness and bananas are radioactive? That too many candlelight dinners can cause cancer? And not only is bottled water a veritable petri dish of biohazards (so is tap water, by the way) but riding a bicycle might destroy your sex life? In Encyclopedia Paranoiaca, master satirists Henry Beard and Christopher Cerf have assembled an authoritative, disturbingly comprehensive, and utterly debilitating inventory of things poised to harm, maim, or kill you--all of them based on actual research about the perils of everyday life. Painstakingly alphabetized, cross-referenced, and thoroughly sourced for easy reference, this book just might save your life. (Apologies in advance if it doesn't.) Beard and Cerf cite convincing evidence that everyday things we consider healthy--eating leafy greens, flossing, washing our hands--are actually harmful, and items we thought were innocuous-- drinking straws, flip-flops, neckties, skinny jeans-- pose life-threatening dangers. Did you know that nearly ten thousand people are sent to the emergency room each year because of escalator accidents, and, despite what you've heard, farmers' markets may actually be less safe than grocery stores? And if you're crossing your legs right now, you're definitely at serious risk. Hilarious, insightful, and, at times, downright terrifying, Encyclopedia Paranoiaca brings to light a whole host of hidden threats and looming dooms that make asteroid impacts, planetary pandemics, and global warming look like a walk in the park (which is also emphatically not recommended). *** The Definitive Compendium of Things You Absolutely, Positively Must Not Eat, Drink, Wear, Take, Grow, Make, Buy, Use, Do, Permit, Believe, or Let Yourself Be Exposed to, Including an Awful Lot of Toxic, Lethal, Horrible Stuff That You Thought Was Safe, Good, or Healthy; All Sorts of Really Bad People Who Are Out to Get, Cheat, Steal from, or Otherwise Take Advantage of You; and a Whole Host of Existential Threats and Looming Dooms That Make Global Warming, Giant Meteors, and Planetary Pandemics Look Like a Walk in the Park (with Its High Risk of Skin Cancer, Broken Bones, Bee Stings, Allergic Seizures, Animal Attacks, Criminal Assaults, and Lightning Strikes)

The Iraq War Reader: History, Documents, Opinions

by Micah L. Sifry Christopher Cerf

Despite the torrent of coverage devoted to war with Iraq, woefully little attention has been paid to the history of the region, the policies that led to the conflict, and the daunting challenges that will confront America and the Middle East once the immediate crisis has ended. In this collection, Micah L. Sifry and Christopher Cerf, coeditors of the acclaimed Gulf War Reader, have assembled essays and documents that present an eminently readable, up-to-the-moment guide -- from every imaginable perspective -- to the continuing crisis in the Gulf and Middle East. Here, in analysis and commentary from some of the world's leading writers and opinion makers -- and in the words of the key participants themselves -- is the engrossing saga of how oil economics, power politics, dreams of empire, nationalist yearnings, and religious fanaticism -- not to mention naked aggression, betrayal, and tragic miscalculation -- have conspired to bring us to the fateful collision of the West and the Arab world over Iraq. Contributors include: Fouad Ajami, George W. Bush, Richard Butler, John le Carré, Noam Chomsky, Ann Coulter, Thomas Friedman, Al Gore, Seymour Hersh, Christopher Hitchens, Arianna Huffington, Saddam Hussein, Terry Jones, Robert Kagan, Charles Krauthammer, William Kristol, Nicholas Lemann, Kanan Makiya, Kevin Phillips, Kenneth Pollack, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Arundhati Roy, Edward Said, William Safire, Jonathan Schell, Susan Sontag, George Will.

Mission Accomplished! Or How We Won the War in Iraq

by Christopher Cerf Robert Grossman Victor S. Navasky

Mission Accomplished! Or How We Won the War in Iraq is the definitive collection -- systematically categorized, indexed, and footnoted for your convenience -- of authoritative misinformation, disinformation, misunderstanding, miscalculation, egregious prognostication, boo-boos, and just plain lies, about the Iraq War. "Never before has such a large and diverse group of experts been so unanimously in favor of a particular national policy as they were in the case of the U.S. invasion of Iraq," note Christopher Cerf and Victor Navasky, who, as co-founders of the Institute of Expertology, the nation's leading purveyor of expertise on expertise, were uniquely qualified to assemble this impressive collection. "In the face of such a consensus, we had no choice but to ask ourselves, 'Could the iron law of expertology -- the experts are never right -- be wrong?'" At once an entertainment, a cautionary tale, a critique of mass media, a reference tool, and a postwar manifesto, Mission Accomplished! presents, as no book has before, the collective wisdom of all those who are presumed to know what they talking about on the subject of America's adventure in Iraq. As this hilarious, yet depressing, volume demonstrates, they don't. From MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! "Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed." -- President George W. Bush, May 1, 2003 "[Insurgents] pose no strategic threat to the United States or to the Coalition Forces." -- L. Paul Bremer III, Administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, November 17, 2003 "Military action will not last more than a week." -- Bill O'Reilly, The O'Reilly Factor, January 23, 2003 "I couldn't imagine somebody like Osama bin Laden understanding the joy of Hanukkah." -- President George W. Bush, at a White House menorah lighting ceremony, December 10, 2001

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