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Hot Deals: War Du Jour
Judy Quinn -- 5/11/98
At least two films coming soon are set during World War II (The Thin Red Line, Saving Private Ryan), and some similarly themed projects in the book world are getting big play. For a rumored $500,000 advance, Rob Weisbach has acquired world rights to the proposed The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust, the memoir of Edith Hahn that gained attention here in a New York Times profile by Ralph Blumenthal. Agent/lawyer Robert Levine, originally contacted by friends of the family of Hahn, who is in her 80s and lives in Israel, ultimately tapped feminist/ journalist/novelist Susan Dworkin as co-writer on the project. In a mid-six-figure deal, ICM agent Esther Newberg sold North American rights to We Band of Angels, a look at the WWII nursing unit that worked the Pacific theater, to Random House editor Bob Loomis. The author, Beth Norman, is director of NYU's graduate nursing program. Three publishers participated in the auction conducted by Literary Group International agent Jim Hornfischer for The Nightingale's Song, by James J. Bradley with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Powers. Bradley traces the lives of the men in the famous Iwo Jima photograph, one of whom was his father. Bantam editor Katie Hall won that project with a six-figure bid. Some months back, Putnam senior editor David Highfill acquired from agent David Hendin the memoir of Betty Schimmel, who discovered that a love of hers, thought lost in the Holocaust, was still alive. Her story was first sold by Daniel Ostroff to Forrest Gump producer Wendy Finerman and is now set up at DreamWorks. Finally, May 21 is the tentative date to auction off the journal of WWII hero Damon "Rocky" Gause, who dramatically escaped Japanese prison camp, although he died later in the war. Agent Mary Tahan represents Gause's family and rumor has it that publishers may bid big.

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