When I was in college, I took a course on Chaucer. Reading along, there was a tale of perfidious Jews. I knew that in Chaucer’s time there were no Jews in England – they had been exiled in 1290, and not allowed back until the 1600s. Reading about this exile, I kept coming upon references to York 1190 and the massacre of Jews. I asked my professor for permission to do a research paper on it, and he said ‘Yes’. Here was the Holocaust in miniature. All the elements were present: class hatred, financial motive, political motive, and the absence of the normal restraints on envy and hate as well as a misdirection of that envy to a small but visible minority. Jews had been living peacefully in England since the 700s CE as they had lived in Germany since the 1500s. Jews in England considered themselves English, those in Germany thought of themselves as German.
After college, Albert and I were married and settled in Evergreen, in the foothills. I kept thinking about the conditions in History of the York massacre. Albert encouraged me to write a book. I had my notes from college, but nothing like the research I needed. Albert got me books through inter-library loan at the Colorado School of Mines. It was my first book and was published by Holt, Reinhart, and Winston. The firm had enough money to take a chance on a new writer due to its success with Charles Schultz (the creator of Peanuts). Later, I was introduced to Charles and we became friends.