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By John Nichols

John Nichols was once raised by means of a family members as American because the Stars and Stripes. He loved a top-notch inner most college schooling and at 23 wrote a best-selling novel, The Sterile Cuckoo. At that time, he thought of himself “a baby blessed through the tradition and fated for delirious success.” even if, a visit to Guatemala derailed his golden-child lifestyles and set him on a really assorted direction towards social and environmental activism. This booklet charts Nichols’s wealthy and sometimes tormented trip out of his sheltered middle-class existence towards a trust in what he calls “liberation ecology.”

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At literary parties I had chatted with George Plimpton, Iris Murdoch, Ralph Ellison. If I won the Putnam Prize I'd be super rich. Too, I was writing my ass off on other novels, I was on the brink of permanent success. How could a man in my position act against his own self-interest? Who wants to feel bad because others are suffering? Give me a break, please. If I bought into Alan's leftist political arguments, how could I enjoy my triumphs? Back at Hamilton, all of us burgeoning writers, artists, and musicians had dreamed about this type of glory.

Women, three to a crib, waited behind half-open Dutch doors. Stopping, I bartered with a young whore; her price was fifty cents. We went in back and she lay down on a cot. I removed all my clothes, hanging them on a peg; the girl had simply hiked up her dress. I was startled by the lack of artifice. On top of her, embarrassed, unable to get an erection, I pleaded for help, then gave up, apologized, and tried to kiss her: she turned her head away. Quickly, I dressed and fled, but stepped in her douche bucket like one of the Three Stooges on the way out, tipping it over and soaking my right foot.

Costs of the war led to huge budget deficits in America, environmental neglect at home, scaled-down social programs. I heard Martin Luther King at the United Nations declare that every bomb bursting in Vietnam exploded with a corresponding negative ferocity upon our own land and society. As a person steeped in my American identity, I felt I was to blame, and during the war I lost my sense of humor, my perspective. I became scared, depressed, enraged. Ruby was uncertain about her own political commitment.

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