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Author Archive: "Max Boot"

The Mark(s) of a Good Editor

Writing is generally a solitary undertaking, but with my latest book, Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Present, I received an invaluable assist from my editor at W. W. Norton & Co., Robert Weil. Instead of tooting my own horn here, I'd much rather tell you how great Bob is, and how much he added to my manuscript.

To truly appreciate Bob's achievement, you have to understand how the book business has changed since the heyday of legendary editors such as Maxwell Perkins. Nowadays most editors are really acquisition agents — they buy and market book proposals but they devote precious little effort to shaping them. There's simply no time for that, and the economics of the book business don't reward literary quality. If you doubt me, just look at the bestseller lists.

I knew Bob was different from the start. Back in 2006, when I was first formulating a book proposal on guerrilla warfare, I envisioned a shortish tome focused around half a dozen notable commanders or campaigns. Bob would have none of that. He told me what ...


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