Reading For Survival is the last published work of John D. MacDonald. It was the fruition of a project first proposed by Jean Trebbi in 1985. Jean was the Executive Director of the Florida Center For The Book, and persuaded JDM to write an essay as Florida’s contribution to the “Literary Heritage of the States,” a program of the Library of Congress Center For The Book.
In the foreword to Reading For Survival Trebbi notes that JDM had a difficult time with the project, and he expressed second thoughts about the whole matter, and he noted that he written many pages, none of which were acceptable to him.
JDM finally wrote Trebbi that one way to make his words “ fall usefully upon deaf ears is to use such colorful language that it will be quoted, sooner of later, to a great many non-readers.”
Trebbi suggested that he use a conversation beetween Meyer and McGee as a device, and JDM replied:
“Why indeed...I am very sorry for taking so damn long.”
It has been twenty-five years since JDM died, but the final essay will indeed be read --and re-read --for its comments on many of the issues of that day, which continue to haunt us today.