The Thinking Dog’s Man

The Thinking Dog’s Man by Ted Patrick was published by Random House in late 1964.  The book, including its dust jacket, is illustrated by Roy McKie.  You can tell just by the title that it is written in a slightly humorous fashion.


Front of book

Front of book

The text on the front flap of the dust jacket indicates that the book “gives new meaning to dog-man coexistence.”  It is also clear that Patrick loved dogs, particularly Airedales.

He also loved writers.  As editor of “Holiday,” a travel magazine that was published from 1946 to 1977, he was known for paying well for the services of such writers as Ernest Hemingway, Jack Kerouac, Graham Greene, William Saroyan, Ian Fleming, and William Faulkner, among others.  He also employed the diverse photographic talents of Henri Carter-Bresson, Edward Steichen, and Robert Capa.

Another writer who he often employed, John Steinbeck, was also a friend.  In fact, he had written to Steinbeck, author of Travels With Charley that Viking had published two years earlier, asking him to write an introduction to the book.

Steinbeck responded to that request in a letter to Patrick dated January 9, 1964, two months before Patrick’s death, declining the invitation.  It’s a long, sometimes rambling letter in which Steinbeck talks a lot about dogs in general and those he had known, including Charley.  By the time the book was published in November of that year, it was decided that Steinbeck’s non-introduction would indeed be included in the book.  It may not be labeled as an introduction, but the eight pages titled A Letter from John Steinbeck Explaining Why He Could Not Write an Introduction for This Book does seem to be used as an introduction.

Separate printing, a promotional pamphlet

Separate printing,
a promotional pamphlet

It was around this time that publishers began experimenting with ideas on how to hype and promote their books.  So, Random House decided to print Steinbeck’s non-introduction separately housing it in orange wrappers printed in black.  The number of copies printed is unknown, but what is known is that these newly-developed promotional items were often trashed.  Few have survived, thus creating a rarity.  Those that did survive command a premium price.  The Goldstone & Payne bibliography of Steinbeck lists the item as A41, a primary first edition.  It records Patrick’s book as B145, a book with a contribution by Steinbeck.


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s