[Paleopsych] NYT: Robert Luce, 83, Former Editor And Publisher of New Republic, Is Dead

Premise Checker checker at panix.com
Sun Jan 1 23:16:41 UTC 2006

Robert Luce, 83, Former Editor And Publisher of New Republic, Is Dead

[This is more personal than anything else, but I thought you might like to 
know a little more about your Checker of Premises and his wonderful wife.]

Sarah worked for Luce from 1973-75. At the time, it was the largest 
independent book publisher, with about ten books a year, in Washington, 
D.C. How things have changed since then! Their books were distributed by 
David McKay (which has the honor of publishing Walt Whitman's _Leaves of 
Grass_), and back then before the Internet, getting distributed was 
usually the only path to success. Luce was bought by Robert van Roijen, 
and Sarah worked directly under the late Joseph J. Binns.

Three notable books are:

Edward J. Gilfillan's _Migration to the Stars_ (1975). Though it was a 
better book, I thought, than Gerard K. O'Neill's _The High Frontier_, the 
latter book got thoroughly promoted, went to paperback, and became widely 

Reginald R. Gerig's _Famous Pianists and Their Technique_ (also 1975), a 
thorough compendium of pianists, is held by 939 libraries covered by 
WorldCat, which covers mostly the United States. It is still in print, $28 
for the paperback, and rates four out of five stars at Amazon.

Robert W. Whitaker's _A Plague on Both Your Houses_ (1976) was the first 
popular book to apply the Public Choice perspective to American politics 
throughout its history and did not hesitate to describe the liberal Human 
Betterment Industry as self-interested.

After van Roijen retired, the aforementioned Joseph J. Binns established 
his own company under that name. I found a copy of Lawrence R. Brown, _The 
Might of the West_ (NY: Ivan Obolensky, 1963), my very favorite book, a 
panorama of world history from a macrohistorical perspective (Spengler 
without the mysticism), and have read it a dozen times. Though Joe 
disagreed with its politics, he found the book provocative and reprinted 
it in 1979. Used copies of this underground classic on Bookfinder go for 



Robert B. Luce, a former editor and publisher of The New Republic who 
founded his own book publishing house, died on Nov. 29 in Boca Raton, Fla. 
He was 83.

He died in a nursing home, his family said. Mr. Luce, known as Bob, began 
his career working for magazines, taking over at The New Republic in 1963. 
He edited a book compilation for the magazine's 50th anniversary, which 
was published in 1964.

In the early 1960's, he also founded his own general-interest book 
publishing house, Robert B. Luce Inc., the first of its kind in 

Mr. Luce left The New Republic in 1966, sold his publishing house and 
returned to New York City, eventually working for Time-Life Books as 
director of editorial planning; his family said he was only distantly 
related to Henry R. Luce, the founder of Time-Life. He also worked for 
several other organizations, including Metromedia Inc. and Harcourt Brace.

He moved from New York and began teaching journalism in 1997 at Florida 
Atlantic University, which he left in 2001.

Robert Bonner Luce was born in 1922 in Gross Pointe, Mich. He served in 
the Army Air Forces in World War II and graduated from Antioch College in 
Ohio with a bachelor's degree in economics in 1946.

Mr. Luce is survived by his wife, Iris, of Boca Raton, Fla.; three 
daughters, Jennifer Luce-Reynolds of Boulder, Colo.; Ann Luce Auerbach of 
New York City; and Jan Luce Nance of Burbank, Calif.; two sisters, Gwen 
Briggs of Rowayton, Conn., and Jean Davis of Ann Arbor, Mich.; one 
brother, Chris, of Florida; and four grandsons. Another daughter, Kathryn, 
died in 1992.

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