It’s a Nice Idea But It’s Probably Off-Broadway

By Jack Limpert

One of my favorite writers was Ernest B. “Pat” Furgurson, a longtime Baltimore Sun reporter, Washington bureau chief, and book author. He wrote some great pieces for the Washingtonian and once when we were talking the name Ashbel Green came up. It turned out that Green was the Knopf editor who handled Pat’s books.

Pat greatly admired how Green edited—calm, soft-spoken, with a vast historical memory. Pat said Ash suggested rather than insisted, and thus reliably got what he wanted, serving the reader and upholding Knopf’s tradition of quality.

Pat said when he had a book idea that Green didn’t want, Green sometimes would say, “It’s a nice idea but it’s probably off-Broadway.” Pat added, “And sometimes Ash would say off-off-Broadway.”

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