I customarily set aside a final chapter, or epilogue, as a means of sharing the twists and turns and joys and frustrations associated with writing a book. An author never fully comprehends the experience of writing a particular book until he or she has written the final chapter and sentence. In this case, I have decided to deviate from my usual practice and instead write a preface. This preface, as a result, is intended to raise issues and identify unexpected surprises and challenges for the reader. It will not be burdened by quotes, citations, and “scholarly” language. I will speak in the first person here, and throughout the book, as a means of communicating to the reader my thoughts and feelings.
Critics often argue that a preface, or epilogue as the case may be, is often an excuse for points not raised or poorly addressed, or is indicative of the author's inability to “let go” of the book. I do not view this preface as an attempt to cover myself before the book goes to print. I do not, in addition, have difficulty letting go of a major writing assignment. Having said this, the reader should know that I was totally unprepared for the “journey” of writing this book. That journey resulted in my finding a state of affairs that I could not possibly have anticipated. Maybe the reader, too, will get more than he or she bargained for in reading this book.
This preface seeks to prepare the reader for the more scholarly presentation that follows—replete with definitions, quotations, and extensive citations to the literature, both popular and academic. Everything stated here, unless specifically noted, is addressed in greater detail later on in this book. This preface can best be conceptualized as a road map to the book. It serves its purpose, however, in a manner that does not disguise the pain and sorrow that one experiences in the writing of a book on such a sad and tragic topic. The wasting of human life always pains me, particularly