As friends and acquaintances have learned by now, I am among the most tardy and delinquent of correspondents. Thus, I will seize this opportunity to thank, in one quick stroke, all of you who took the time to talk with me about ideas that ultimately influenced the general shape of this book. Certain people deserve special mention: Jack Sosin, David Trask, David Burner, Robert Marcus, Jackson T. Main, Richard Archer, Garry Wills, Thomas Daniels and my colleagues in the history department at Macalester College (especially the late Ernest Sandeen and James Stewart, who deserves extra commendation for reading through an early version of this study). I'd like to express greatest thanks to John Pratt, who first suggested the subject of libel law. Harlan Abrahms and Joseph Gorrell provided important encouragement at key points.
In the case of one special colleague, words such as helpful and influential are simply inadequate. As Emily knows, "my" book pales in comparison to the discussions, debates, and fights we have had over the past twenty years about the meaning of life and American history.
Grants from NEH, the Jerome Foundation, the Bush Foundation, and Macalester College helped to support portions of this study. Much of the discussion of Thomas Cooley appeared, in slightly different form, in the University of Puget Sound Law Review, and permission to incorporate this material is gratefully acknowledged. In the final stages, Macalester Library's Peggy Feldick proved indispensable in helping to locate elusive secondary materials. My editors at North Carolina--Lewis Bateman, G. Edward White, Gwen Duffey, and Nancy Margolis (a skilled and compassionate copyeditor)--have been both patient and supportive. Macalester College students have always been willing to listen and help with ideas; Kris Hoover, Tim Hodgdon and Juliette Ramirez provided the special text-processing skills that I lacked, and Amy Zhe offered critical help on bibliographical matters.
Finally, this book about speech and communication has gained more than can ever be calculated from the support of my family. I do not, quite honestly, remember learning anything about libel from Sarah, Molly, Ruth, and Joe, but they did teach me a great deal about the "politics of communication." Similarly, all of my family--the Rosenbergs, Ginsburgs, Schwimmers, and Andersons--showed me how real communication, about both "large" and "small" politics, should proceed. My uncles, the late Herman Ginsburg and Hymen Rosenberg, patiently gave the best education in law, and my brother Ron has continued my legal training. It is to my family--especially to my parents and to Emily--that I dedicate this book.