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4/24/03 - From Dr Alastair J. Reid, Girton College, Cambridge [sent 4/21/03]

First may I say how much I enjoyed and learned from your biography of Shunryu Suzuki, which I only got around to reading over last Christmas vacation. Although you deny any pretension to 'real' scholarship, your work easily passed the test of this professional historian: it was carefully researched and well-balanced in its assessment of controversial issues.

Meanwhile I wondered if you might be interested in this link about Iraq and Japan to 'my' website

[This link plus another he sent later were added to the Current Events page.

DC responded: Hi. Thanks for the kind words. Having the web site definitely adds to the professionalism or whatever I should call it of the book. I'd really like to do an index and notes - the notes and sources are all over the site and many many aren't on there yet. For instance, I have a weather report for every four hour section of the day he was born and the hill he was born on and, though it's not important, these sort of notes would be fun to do and would add to the authenticity of the book. I could also redo some parts that I've learned more on. But also I want to do other things.

Dr. Reid wrote back: Your reply reminded me that the one thing I did miss in your book was a good index: if you ever do a new edition I would make that the priority. The absence of notes in the book was not a problem for me, and here I think your development of the website is a very interesting alternative. A Ph.D. student of mine recently submitted a subject-indexed CDrom of all her interview transcripts along with her dissertation, so that might be another format to think about.

By the way, you might be curious about my interest in your book? I studied for a long time with a Taoist/Internal Martial Arts teacher, called Rose Li, who passed away a couple of years ago. She was born and brought up in Peking, a little younger than Suzuki but with an interestingly parallel life experience and a similar 'everyday' approach to teaching and practice. One day we might get around to doing a book about her!

I also wanted to give you strong support for including material about Iraq on your site. My impression is that the public atmosphere in the USA is pretty repressive and scary, so every alternative must be worthwhile. Here things have been reasonably civilised and the anti-war movement has been a strong public presence. I helped to facilitate a Cambridge University staff petition which got over 1,000 signatures! Our local MP resigned from the government, and I made a few small waves by being a historian of the Labour Party who resigned his membership. I must say I have not been so angry with our government for a long time, so it was nice to be able to speak my mind freely!

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