The subject of this book has never been easy to discuss. Annihilatory concepts, menacing violence, apocalyptic war, and the dark side of religion may be more likely to repel than attract interlocutors. Yet I have been most fortunate in having people close to me who were always ready to share, consider, and reconsider with me the difficult ideas in this study. They listened to me, catalyzed me, or otherwise enriched me during the years this book was written. The first person to hear my responses on reading the letter to the hijackers was Gavriel Reisner, my husband. I remember the places on our nightly walks where I paused to gasp over how the ideas that ground this book were coming together in my mind. My intimate reader, my candid critic, Gavriel, made things come alive and become valid and hearable.
Jessica Benjamin was intrigued by my idea of the process whereby diverse anxieties can be channeled into a single fear of God, and by the way I read Atta's letter, and she was the first to suggest I write it all up. Donald Moss invited me to present my germinating ideas on a panel we shared at the Southeast Asian Forum at the New York University Medical School a short time after 9/11. His invitation stimulated me to further articulate my thoughts. Rina Lazar listened to my stories, ideas, and the affects involved, and read my texts with her sharp mind and good heart.
Alan Bass mentioned to me Werner Hamacher, the editor of the Meridian Series at Stanford University Press, with which Alan has published his recent books. This put me in touch with Werner, a great scholar and a most generous, open-minded editor, whose warm reception encouraged me significantly over the years. Walter (Mac) Davis, whose intelligence