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The Council on Books in Wartime (1942-1946) was an American non-profit organization founded by booksellers, publishers, librarians, authors, and others, in the spring of 1942 to channel the use of books as "weapons in the war of ideas" (the Council's motto). Its primary aim was the promotion of books to influence the thinking of the American people regarding World War II, to build and maintain the will to win, to expose the true nature of the enemy, to disseminate technical information, to provide relaxation and inspiration, and to clarify war aims and problems of peace. The Council co-operated with the Office of War Information (OWI) and other Government agencies, but was itself a voluntary, unpaid, non-Governmental organization.

The Council attempted to achieve its goals by acting as a clearinghouse for book-related ideas, by being an intermediary between the book-trade industry and government agencies, by offering advice to publishers, and by handling all forms of public relations including distribution of reading lists and pamphlets, lectures, radio programs, newsreels, and book promotion and publication.

Two subsidiary organizations sprang from the Council on Books in Wartime, the Armed Services Editions (ASE) and Overseas Editions, Inc. (OEI).

With the end of WW II, the Council on Books in Wartime ceased active operations on Jan. 31, 1946, but maintained its corporate entities to deal with the dispersal of remaining funds and the safekeeping of records.

Some of those invoved on the Council include: W. W. Norton of W. W. Norton & Company, Bennett Cerf of Random House, George A. Hecht of Doubleday & Co., and Mark Van Doren.


The Council on Books in Wartime (1942-1946) was an American non-profit organization founded by booksellers, publishers, librarians, authors, and others, in the spring of 1942 to channel the use of books as "weapons in the war of ideas" (the Council's motto). Its primary aim was the promotion of books to influence the thinking of the American people regarding World War II, to build and maintain the will to win, to expose the true nature of the enemy, to disseminate technical information, to provide relaxation and inspiration, and to clarify war aims and problems of peace. The Council co-operated with the Office of War Information (OWI) and other Government agencies, but was itself a voluntary, unpaid, non-Governmental organization.

The Council attempted to achieve its goals by acting as a clearinghouse for book-related ideas, by being an intermediary between the book-trade industry and government agencies, by offering advice to publishers, and by handling all forms of public relations including distribution of reading lists and pamphlets, lectures, radio programs, newsreels, and book promotion and publication.

Two subsidiary organizations sprang from the Council on Books in Wartime, the Armed Services Editions (ASE) and Overseas Editions, Inc. (OEI).

With the end of WW II, the Council on Books in Wartime ceased active operations on Jan. 31, 1946, but maintained its corporate entities to deal with the dispersal of remaining funds and the safekeeping of records.

Some of those involved on the Council include: W. W. Norton of W. W. Norton & Company, Bennett Cerf of Random House, George A. Hecht of Doubleday & Co., and Mark Van Doren.

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