"My book is about an extremely consequential 12-month period in American history, and also in the history of my family and my own maturation. Being 11 and 12 is a very interesting time of life, when you, for the first time, begin to establish your frame of reference for the world outside of your experience at home. And, in my case, it was a discovery of history as an inescapable current. We were all writing. These were dangerous years."