I've always felt, in all my books, that there's a deep decency in the American people and a native intelligence - providing they have the facts, providing they have the information.
The trouble with censorship is that once it starts it is hard to stop. Just about every book contains something that someone objects to.
Reading a book should not be a passive exercise, but rather a raucous conversation.
If there is knowledge, it lies in the fusion of the book and the street.
Religion obviously played a role in this book and the previous book, too.
Tom Paine was a great American visionary. His book, Common Sense, sold a couple of hundred thousand copies in a population of four or five million. That means it was a best seller for years. People were thoughtful then. Hope is one thing. But you need to have hope with thought.
All the other books ask, 'What's it like?' What was World War II like for the young kid at Normandy, or what is work like for a woman having a job for the first time in her life? What's it like to be black or white?
I thought, if ever there were a time to write a book about hope, it's now.
My doctors were of one mind: unless something was immediately done, I had maybe six months to live. A quintuple bypass was suggested. Quintuple! I was impressed, though somewhat disturbed because I was in the middle of work on a new book.
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