Part of Our Time, Too
Dear Mr. Trumbo,
I sent your letter down to [New York Post editor] Jimmy Wechsler; somehow, it seemed to me that your personal label did not apply to the society of non-calcified ex-Bolsheviks. He was as moved as I was by it; we were thinking what a wonderful Hollywood columnist you would be. I'm home now, and he still has the letter, so I'm writing from memory.
But I think I can remember most of your comments, if only because so many of them are my own when I think about that book. [Conservative journalist] Westbrook Pegler wrote me a few months ago that what I had said about him was a myth, and that it is a crime to embalm myths about a man even in a book of very little circulation.
I can only plead, pompous as it sounds, that I have come to believe that it is the greatest of crimes to write about a man whose face you have never seen, since writing is related to the subject more than the audience, and a man you have never seen is unlikely to recognize himself in what you say about him, and thus no engagement is possible. The book is full of that, and my only hope is that it taught me something.
You, by the way, have taught me something too, even before you wrote, I think. I would suspect, without knowing them, that your children know that we lied, because you have outlived what Trotsky used to call, in his coldness, the verdict of history. And I think you have told some of us at least that we lied, because you have proved, as many others have, the capacity of the human spirit to refuse entombment under some general label.
"Part of Our Time" unfortunately seems to be enjoying an autumnal flower on the remainder shelves. A reprint house approached me about issuing it a year or so ago; I suggested that I do an introduction saying a little bit about what time had taught me; and the project seems to have withered since. If it ever revives, I should make the condition that you write the introduction.
I live on Edgerstoune Road, Princeton, N.J. I hope, when you come to New York, you'll call me. There is a project in which I think you'd be a tremendous help. Thanks so much again,