“Because J.B. and I were friends, I was commissioned by Atlantic Monthly Press to edit a collection of his essays, called Essays of Five Decades, which was published in 1968. This led to my writing the biography.
I can still hear JB’s rumbling Yorkshire voice. He was my friend and perhaps mentor: generous, uncompromising, funny. I owe a lot to him—and to his brilliant wife, the archaeologist Jacquetta Hawkes, for her book A Land. Its mystical, poetic reflections on the geology and prehistory of the British Isles have been echoing in my mind since I was 16.”