Mark David Ledbetter
1950, I was born on a mountaintop in Tennessee (or at least in sight of a mountaintop). After that, there were a few years in Texas followed by one more move to a small town east of San Francisco. Summers were spent living out untold (and, to adults, untellable) adventures in the yellow oak-sprinkled foothills of Mt. Diablo. The oaks, though, along with the walnut orchards down in the valley, have all been leveled to make way for the great suburban migration. My family was part of that migration, but an early part, thus a part on the edge. Our house bordered wildlands. We kids, at least those so inclined, had access to a world of magic and dreams. We grew up free. Now the small towns in the valley have all grown together into one borderless mass. Only the profile of Mt. Diablo, the steady pole of my childhood's inner compass, remains.
I grew up intellectually, but not academically, inclined. That is to say, I studied, but rarely what was assigned at school. I scraped by, only really finding my place years later in graduate school. I pursued linguistics, after discovering that Language - not literature, not foreign language, but language itself - was a window on the human mind. I built my career in Japan on that, first as an English teacher, much later as a teacher of linguistics and North American history. I've been in Japan thirty years, now, raising a family and becoming rather Japanized in my ways. I've kept tabs on America with both the intimate understanding of an insider born there but also the perspective of an outsider. Dual sight has, I believe, been fruitful.
In any case, after 9/11, I applied my insider-outsider perspective to a search for answers to that tragedy. The result was first Globocop and then the first two volumes of America's Forgotten History, an envisioned five volume series written from a constitutionalist, libertarian, and always (I hope) sympathetic point of view. The great American experiment is in crisis but not yet buried. This is my contribution towards reviving it. Those books are not up yet on smashword but can be found in Amazon's kindle library for a dollar fifty each.
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