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« I gotta admit, seeing the NYT review in print is really different | Main | Let's cut the boondoggle costs! »
3:40AM

Director's Commentary On the Coda, Acknowledgments, Glossary, Notes and Index

CODA: THE FUTURE PERFECT TENSE

The history here is a bit tortured. First I write this as the intro to Part IV, which I envisaged as three chapters on superempowered individuals both good and bad, and then the "how to" on becoming your own grand strategist. But by the time I wrote this, I pretty much knew there was only going to be one chapter. Then I tried to write that "how to" chapter and simply gave up, realizing I couldn't find the right tone, plus I felt the book was really done. So then I took this Part IV intro and used it as the beginning to my planned "eulogy," which Neil later cut. So then this always-a-bridesmaid-and-never-the-bride intro was chosen to stand alone as the Coda. Other than a new last para, I didn't change it much from the original draft, even though it was originally written as an opening instead of a closing!

"Future perfect tense" is just one of those phrases you pick up by studying languages. Sounded about right.

[Ed. Tom later considered that "Future perfect tense" was inspired by Adrian Woolridge's book, "Future Perfect". Read about it here: Ex post facto: an inspiration recognized in Wooldridge.

The first four lines on page 417 are Mark's.

Page tripping:

(420)

I dig the Matrix rebooting reference. I personally loved the second and third movies on that score.

(421)

The bit about having both sides of the Eurasian landmass with multiple great powers all rising peacefully: that's basically the start of the brief now.

I keep the H.G. Wells book bit in the text. Originally, I thought I would write a history of the 21st century backwards, but that sounded too arch and flaky given the material that had come up to this point. I decided to leave the futurology to other people. Here I just use the book to remind that my projection remains fairly bright despite the current events.

(422)

I added the second-to-last para in the last edit. I just wanted something that re-sounded the book's theme

I mean the last line sincerely: we need to be careful with our sense of purpose over the next two years. We need to admit what we got wrong and where we went wrong recently, but we cannot let the self-criticism spiral into self-defeatism.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

There's the nod to Kagan's Dangerous Nation in the first para, then my notations concerning three of my chosen family members (Steve, Jenn, Mark), then the usual nods to Neil and Jenn Gates, and a serious thank-you to Sean. I note my three readers (Abbott, Lotus, Safranski) and give my blog readers/researchers their due--185 of them. I think my favorite name is Mystery Meat. Then I thank Bradd on the slides.

I think I'm a bit old to be thanking my parents, since this is book #4, so I simply cited the help of colleagues and fellow authors and took care of two brothers, my mom and my mother-in-law in that mix.

What I say about my wife Vonne's extensive research on books is somewhat of an understatement, since we argued and debated most of the big choices I made in the book.

GLOSSARY

What got cut from BFA, all because I simply don't mention these concepts):

The A-to-Z Rule Set for Processing Politically Bankrupt Nations

Globalization I, II and III

Greater Inclusive

Lesser Includeds

Military-Market Nexus

Military Operations Other Than War

Seam States

What got added was:

Frontier integration

Grand Strategy

NOTES

I like the method of calling-out text per page .

Forty pages of notes, and I made sure that every single subheader was repeated here to aid in navigation (otherwise the reader ends up searching too much).

I let Sean take the first stab and compiling and then I typically added 1-2 additional for everyone he picked up (I had him do just the obvious ones--like quotes--and let me decide what else should be annotated). It was, as always, a painfully laborious process that just about drove me nuts.

We ended up with 593 endnotes. Guessing that for every note with multiples there's another that repeats the same source, I'm guessing I end up somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 separate source citations.

INDEX

Sixteen pages, and it looks well-done to me. This is compiled by Putnam after the last pass of editing.

Well, I hope those of you who read these commentaries found them useful and enjoyable. They really are designed to be like the director talking his way through the movie in retrospect. In that sense, they can be viewed as a reading guide.

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