The Five Families (Houghton Mifflin, W. W. Norton, Simon & Schuster, Little Brown, and McGraw Hill) originated in the mid-1800s out of the lower east side of Amherst, Massachusetts, from the "publish or perish" gangs of Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College and Smith College. Edward Dickinson, Emily Dickinson's father, was consiglieri to one of the front bosses to Don Vito Houghton.
Asher’s research was reported in 2014 in a tell-all exposé entitled “Publish or Perish: A history of the Five Families that have dominated organized crime in the publish industry since the 1800s.” Much of Asher’s research can be found HERE.
When reached for comment, W. Drake McFeely (pictured at the left), the chairman and president of W. W. Norton, said, “Jim who? No, we have not been out to get him or anyone else. What? Is he some sort of nut? We run a family business here.”
Asher responded by asking, “Did he put air-quotes around the word ‘family’?”