This is a monolothic, monologrolling history of publishing in America and it's hard to think who would be interested in this mortuary of statistics which have been compiled from back lists, sales figures, etc. After a brief account of earlier activity in America (in the colonial days when publishers as well as writers lacked status and increment; through the gilded age; from 1900-1945 with the ""commercialization of literature""; to the present) Mr. Madison settles down to a publisher by publisher inventory of firm members and sometimes even seasonal records. More attention is paid to some than others; on the whole the tone is commendatory and publishers will like to find themselves ""high minded"" and editors ""perceptive."" Madison is more likely to discuss financial rather than literary trends-- the factor of ""going public"" -- he'll even speculate: ""Houghton Mifflin, like its friendly rival Little, Brown, is managed by men confident in the firm's continued success and proud of its distinguished history. They are not inclined to 'go public' or merge."" Or perhaps you (who?) would really like to know that in the late 1950's one publisher had ""such books as... William McGivern's Odds Against Tomorrow, Isaac F. Marcosson's Before I Forget, Edward Ellsberg's The Far Shore, and Elswyth Thane's Washington's Lady."" Or that in 1946 Taylor Caldwell's This Side of Innocence had a first printing of 75,000... It's like reading a baseball record book written in the form of a publicity release.