The Robe, by Lloyd C. Douglas, has become, from the point of view of sales, one of the greatest successes of publishing history. Published in October, 1942, it stood at one time at the head of the best-seller list for fiction for eleven consecutive months, and is still well up toward the top. It has sold, in less than two years, one million, four hundred and fifty thousand copies, and the publishers estimate that it has been read by five times that number of people. Houghton Mifflin, with their restricted supply of paper, have twice had the book reset in order to reduce the number of pages, and have had to resort to other special economies to meet the demand at all. They have announced, in the Publishers' Weekly, a vast new advertising campaign for August, and one sometimes gets the impression that they have ceased to bring out any other books. One of their publicity releases reports that a copy of The Robe, auctioned off at the opening of the Fifth War Loan Drive, brought $525,- 000 in War Bonds.
Never having looked into this book, I lately decided that it was time for me to take cognizance of it. I have procured a copy of The Robe, and what I have found in it has been rather surprising. Instead of the usual trash aimed at Hollywood and streamlined for the popular