Putting Myself on the Line

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As a book editor, my work had always been behind the scenes. When Ron Rubin (an author I had previously edited for “behind the scenes”) asked me to come out from behind and have my name appear on the cover of an anthology of his works, I never considered the possibility I might wind up putting myself on the line.

As I understood it, my role as anthologist would be to cull through the anthologized’s published materials, decide which pieces fit the anthology’s theme, create “abridged” versions for some of the tangential works, organize the material in a sensible pattern, and write a preface and filler blurbs to provide a biographical background and help the reader move through the book.

All went as expected, the manuscript was submitted, and then …

Surprise!

A reviewer for the publisher’s acquisitions department gave the book a “thumbs up” but suggested adding a bridge between the last of Rubin’s published commentaries and the book’s production. Syracuse University Press’s editorial committee agreed, I discussed the idea of a “Postscript” with Dr. Rubin, and he informed me he would gladly help me write it.

Now it’s true I’ve been involved with three books written by political science professors—two of them on historical subjects and the third a more contemporary topic—but political science and history are just not my bailiwick. The research for those books was all done by the authors before I ever saw the manuscripts, and any fact-checking was done by the publishers’ editorial teams. My bachelor’s degree in math, computer science and secondary education did not require much research … what little it did require was done more than forty years ago … and the only research I did as founding editor of an IT trade association’s magazine more than 20 years ago (when I was also the association’s Executive Director) involved brainstorming with the president to figure out what topics would interest our members and industry and which of our vendors, members and technical staff to approach to write the articles.