The two Bobs, Gottlieb and Caro, have an odd editorial relationship, almost as contentious as it is mutually admiring. They still debate, for example, or pretend to, how many words Gottlieb cut from “The Power Broker.” It was 350,000 — or the equivalent of two or three full-size books — and Caro still regrets nearly every one. “There were things cut out of ‘The Power Broker’ that should not have been cut out,” he said to me sadly one day, showing me his personal copy of the book, dog-eared and broken-backed, filled with underlining and corrections written in between the lines. Caro is a little like Balzac, who kept fussing over his books even after they were published.
Cut out 350,000 words? Was the book originally supposed to be 2000 pages?
Thing is, I’d probably like to read those 350,000 words.
This also made me laugh:
He was always writing, and even then he wrote long. His sixth-grade essays dwarfed everyone else’s. His senior thesis at Princeton — on existentialism in Hemingway — was so long, he was told, that the college’s English department subsequently instituted a rule limiting the number of pages a senior could turn in.