New York City, across from the Metropolitan Opera House.
Date of Birth
When Herbert Hoover was President
Place of Birth
The Borough of Brooklyn
Impeccable. Amherst, B.A., Oxford, M.A., Princeton, Ph.D.
Why did you choose to come to Amherst?
My father (a college professor himself) chose it for me. The alternative, he noted, was Harvard. And that, he feared, would turn me into A Harvard Man.
Favorite (most memorable or most influential) class at Amherst:
The no-longer-extant "Evolution of the Earth and Man," team-taught by Professors Bain, Green, and Wood. It was science-for-citizens; indeed, science as a Liberal Art. Sadly, today's professors don't win career-points by conducting this kind of survey for sophomores.
Favorite (most memorable or most influential) professor:
Earl Latham in Political Science. He was a model even more than a mentor. A considerable part of my persona is Earl Latham.
Just about anything having to do with the United States. My scholarly interests stop at Montauk Point.
No single one. So here's my favorite movie: "North by Northwest."
Tips for aspiring writers?
Turn in what you've done by the due-date. Of course, it isn't perfect. So make your next effort a little better. It will add up.
Tell us a bit about your path to becoming an author:
My day job is teaching. So I write on weekends and over the summer. (I don't take sabbaticals.) Spoken words are simply air. They may sound eloquent, but they're still ether. Only when you've put something down on paper can you (and others) tell whether you have come up with a serious observation or idea. (Artists can't "tell" you their picture.). While I'm at it, let me add my favorite dividend from writing a book. If you do, and if some people read it all the way through, they are in effect listening to you for ten full hours. Even your best friends wouldn't do that.