A look backward after ten years

I recently dusted off a copy of “Without Smoking Gun” and thumbed through it so I could summarize it for a friend. I do tend to forget some of the experiences I had in writing the book as well as forgetting the content of the book itself, so I look at it from time to time, asking myself whether I can still stand by the things I wrote. On this most recent re-reading, I noticed a great emotional distance between who I was now and who I was ten years ago when I wrote the book. It was a little frightening to enter that world again, and to be reminded that sometimes researchers like me become part of the history they are attempting to uncover, and particularly disturbing to think that (as I suggested in the book) these researchers may even shape that history in horrible ways without even knowing it. I was reminded of my contact with a bitter-sounding much older man who was either ironically unaware of the impact of his research or attempting to deflect a blame that no one had yet laid at his feet but which I would come to suspect. He is close to 75 years old now and perhaps some day when he is gone I will spell out my suspicions in greater detail. No one should have to bear such a burden during their lifetime, whether it is true or not. I believe and dearly hope I have set myself on a path which will ensure that I do not one day become as embittered and obsessed as he seemed to me.

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