When I was in grade school, the first book I took out of the Philadelphia public library, when I got my library card as a first-grader, was a biography of Alexander the Great. I was so interested in heroes and national leaders. All my life, as a kid, I would get a Landmark book — a biography of Lincoln or Jefferson or Washington or Davy Crockett. And I was always [reading] nonfiction when my brother was getting Hardy Boys.
I wanted to do something adventurous and somewhat risky in youth. I think rite of passage is a very important part of growing up. Certainly, all of the heroes did it. I was a volunteer. I certainly was driven to the Peace Corps in Africa with a sense of adventure — going out there alone, out there in the bush, by myself, on a motorcycle. I was in Swaziland. And you’re out there on your own. It was pretty brazen, I’d say.