A Prologue to The Flemish Coil

I've never included a prologue in one of the Nick Temple files before. While writing The Flemish Coil, I included an epilogue, and I wrote it weeks before the manuscript was complete. Since I had an epilogue, I thought I'd take a shot at a prologue. It's below. For the rest of the book, you'll have to pay your money and take your chances!

The Cuban Missile Crisis brought the United States and the Soviet Union to the brink of nuclear war in October of 1962. Peering over that brink to gaze into the abyss of nuclear holocaust became a catalyst for the two nations to explore finding mechanisms that might make the natural and predictable consequences of nuclear brinkmanship less likely. The superpowers agreed on two such mechanisms in August of 1963: the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and the installation of a “hot line” between the Pentagon and the Kremlin. Both indicated a significant shift in the relationship between the two superpowers. That shift was, by August of 1964, accompanied by an increasing American emphasis on abetting a civil war in Vietnam that would serve the purpose of containing, if not rolling back, the influence of America’s communist rivals in Southeast Asia.

Significant change is rarely easily or willingly embraced, particularly when it challenges assumptions and values that men and women see as being central to their world views and to their roles in the world. While some are willing to evaluate and embrace such change after careful, thoughtful analysis and reflection, others are not. They tend to view significant change as a personal rebuke, as a shift away from clearly delineated and time-tested principles to which they have dedicated their lives. Those who resist significant change often do so at great personal and professional risk. Their resistance can take many forms, from simply articulating an alternative view, to alienating friends and colleagues, to losing what had been a fulfilling career. On rare occasions, those resisting change hold their views so deeply, feel so certain of their own rectitude, are so challenged by assumptions they consider to be fundamentally wrong, that they are willing to become outlaws.