A Book Proposal
Early in March 1949 Everett C. Hughes sent a letter to the director of the university press of his home university. In it he described briefly two attachments: the outline of a proposed book and a sample chapter. The letter was a follow-up to some previous conversations between Hughes and his prospective editor. The ‘memorandum’ explains what the author wants to do. The ‘material’ for the proposed book would be the ‘diary’ that Hughes kept during his stay in Germany in the first half of 1948. The ‘form’ it would take would be a chronological first-person account.
My reason for preserving chronology is to keep the Mss [manuscript] an honest report of the development of my impressions. The diary is a record of what one American saw, thought and felt, not merely about Germany, but about being an American in an occupied country.
Tentatively, I suggest that certain theme or topical headings be set in here and there to indicate that a major incident of discussion of the given topic occurs at that point. (Everett C. Hughes, Memo on proposed book, Box 100, Folder 6, Everett C. Hughes Papers, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library)
The memorandum then lists a set of themes that would run through the manuscript and that would be brought to a head around one or more incidents or dramatic passages. As Hughes envisioned it, the book would have 13 chapter-like parts. What follows is a selective presentation of the tentative table of contents and illustrative remarks offered by Hughes.
Hughes starts by saying he would cover the moods of the Germans – ‘Ach, armes Deutschland!’ (Alas, poor Germany!). Some Germans he met had expressed the feeling they never again would be able to smile, everything was hopeless, it was a crime to express hope, celebrate holidays and so on. However, Hughes indicates that he met also spontaneous gaiety.
Hughes lists politicsas a second topic, which he intended to portray via accounts and descriptions of meetings, posters and informal talks. He notes that he had encountered different psychological complexes: the one claiming ‘all must share the loss equally’, which was connected with the notion of a ‘levelling-down democracy’, the ‘nothing can be done under occupation’ complex and the one that utters ‘better stay out of politics’.