This book began when my father the journalist and my mother the teacher decided that I should go not to Trenton's Catholic high school but should commute to Philadelphia to Saint Joseph's Prep.
There I met the first of the men to whom I dedicate this book.
Jack Burton, then a scholastic, challenged me to participate in a speech contest and made me yearbook editor. In short, he represents all those Jesuit teachers who think they see a spark in a student and try to turn that spark into a flame. Like many of the Jesuits, he wrote letters to his former students for years. When he got in trouble in Philadelphia in the late 1960s for adapting the liturgy to a team's locker room I wrote it up for America magazine.
At Fordham, Joe Frese was the priest on my floor in Dealy Hall in 1951. There I served his Mass every morning for four years in a little hole-in-the-wall chapel, except for my junior year in Paris. A Harvard history PhD, he took me to dinner at the Harvard Club and taught me how to order wine. Joe advised me to write my doctoral thesis on the Brooklyn Eagle, knowing my Uncle Frank once owned it, and this became my first published book. Finally he concelebrated my first Mass and preached at my final vows in 1976.
Our Fordham dean was Thurston Noble Davis, who became Americaeditor when Robert Hartnett stepped down during the McCarthy controversy and who printed my article about trying to lead a Christian life in the U.S. Army when I was an artillery officer in Germany. When I came home and joined the Society he made me a summer editor and gave me a socio-literary column which ran for several years.
Dave Toolan, my loyal friend during my philosophy days at Shrub Oak and theology at Woodstock, succeeded me at Commonweal magazine as associate editor and book editor and later joined the America staff, where, though tormented by cancer, he traveled to hotspots and wrote eloquent articles and books about politics, science, and religion.
In the early months of my writing, for inspiration I toured the