I want to thank the faculty and students whose enthusiasm, discussion, and criticism were of great help to me as I worked on this book: Chris Williams, Steve Ropp, Ben Roth, Eli Isaacson, Derek Reiners, Zachary Rombakis, Jeannie Holland, Cliff Marks, Graham Baxendale, Eric Rasmussen, Luke Bowen, Sarah Talbott, Jennifer Cole, Nyla Bailey, Cynthia Reed, Jeff Williams, Gregg Cawley, Brian Farmer, Rodney Wambeam, Deena Weinstein, and James Stever. I am grateful to those who read and commented upon substantial sections of the manuscript and provided constructive criticism: Gail Simmonds, Larry Hubbell, and John Anderson.
I am indebted to all those at the University of Missouri Press for their intelligence and professionalism, and for making what can be a rough experience enjoyable. In particular, I would like to thank Managing Editor Jane Lago for the smooth and expeditious process, and acquisitions editor Maurice Manning for his excellent editorial suggestions, including the title for this work. I would also like to thank freelance editor Tim Fox, who handled the manuscript with sympathy and care.
Finally, I would like to thank my wife, Carole Homer, for those wonderful discussions about Primo Levi, her incisive reading of the manuscript, and her encouragement.