Today at 10:00 a.m. the UPS man showed up in my office with a manila envelope from Yale University Press, and in it was The Iron Way: Railroads, the Civil War, and the Making of Modern America, printed and bound and delivered. In three dimensions. The object. A book. On my desk. Along with the book came a very nice letter from Christopher Rogers, my editor at Yale. What a day!

When the UPS man arrived, I happen to be reading Marshall McLuhan and Quentin Fore’s The Medium is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects for my class, which we’ll discuss on Thursday. And also on my desk there is Edward L. Ayers, an oldie but a goodie, Vengeance and Justice, for a graduate student discussion.