I have always been uncomfortable with the idea of acknowledgment. It seems haughty and condescending on the one hand, timid and sanctimonious on the other. I trust that those I am about to acknowledge will understand that what I mean to express is gratitude in its most felicitous form -- with astonishment. I have been the recipient of more generous assistance and support in producing this book than I had thought possible.
When I completed the first draft of the manuscript, I asked several distinguished scholars who are also -- as is often the case -- accomplished writers to read my work. Sociologist Kai Erikson and political scientist Joseph La- Palombara were the first to do so. They supplied, along with useful criticism, the strong encouragement so crucial to self-editing and completion.
I then turned to historians C. Vann Woodward and Peter Gay, who commented thoughtfully, each in a frank and distinctive manner both specific and helpful.
Yale law professor Akhil Reed Amar not only examined my reporting on the Constitution but invited me to attend his seminar on the Bill of Rights. I learned there much about the legal history of the First Amendment that enlarged earlier research and clarified the boundaries between the law and the media.
My colleague at New York University, Professor William Burrows, made persuasive suggestions regarding sequence and emphasis, advice he communicated at the cost of interrupting concentration on a book of his own. I am in his debt.
Outside the academy, I consulted a number of gifted people whose professional schedules are formidable. That they responded so quickly and constructively was a remarkable largesse.
James Hoge, former newspaper writer and publisher, currently editor of Foreign Affairs, provided the endorsement of an experienced practitioner who has contemplated the fate of a responsible press while at its center.
William F. Buckley Jr., founder of National Review, columnist, television commentator, and novelist, wrote a characteristically deft and knowledgeable analysis of the case I seek to make, commending its purpose and its promulgation.
Joan Ryan, once a columnist for the Washington Post, followed the evolution of my manuscript in segments, commenting wisely and raising useful questions.