If much of writing is solitary, much is also communal. I am grateful for the assistance of those who helped in the realization of this book. Austin Chinn and Cecilia Tichi gave early encouragement and dialogue that helped to define approaches. Cullen Murphy, current managing editor of the Atlantic, helped me to understand the magazine's functions, past and present. I am especially indebted to Ellen Ballou, author of Building of the House: Houghton Mifflin's Formative Years, for her exhaustive research, her decisive style, and her balanced insights into the relationship between literature and the publishing business, all of which have served as models I aspire to but do not expect to achieve.
Longwood College provided me with a sabbatical in 1988-89 during which the majority of the manuscript was written. John McKernan mercifully shredded an initial draft and suggested useful tactics for improving it. My colleagues Michael Lund and Gordon VanNess helped me rework portions of later drafts. Craig Noll's editing repeatedly saved me from my own mental lapses while Ashley Warren was efficient and effective in checking accuracy and documentation in the final stages. I am obliged to Paul Wright of the University of Massachusetts Press for taking much of the anxiety out of the process of bringing the manuscript to publication, and to the anonymous reviewers who both understood what I had attempted and helped me to articulate it more fully. My greatest debt of gratitude is to my wife, Robin, for making labor on this book both possible and meaningful.