First edition of To Heal and to Build, inscribed by President Lyndon Johnson to the author of Jaws, Peter Benchley.
Octavo, xiv, 506pp. Blue cloth, title stamped in gilt and red. Stated “first edition” on copyright page. This copy appears unread. In the publisher’s fine dust jacket. Scarce presidential bookplate with handwritten calligraphy by Sanford Fox and hand signed by President Johnson: “To Peter Benchley, With my best wishes, Lyndon B. Johnson.”
Peter Benchley (1940-2006) was a speechwriter in the Johnson administration from 1967-1969. In the early 1970s, he found himself struggling to support his family by working as a freelance journalist. With the publication of Jaws in 1974, Benchley was “making one final attempt to stay alive as a writer.” His best-selling novel would capture the attention of Steven Spielberg, who would direct the cinematic version of Jaws and create a new genre, the summer blockbuster movie.