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In these wide-ranging stories, Julie Wosk captures the excitement of working as a promotion writer at Playboy in the days of Mad Men and the challenges of being a civil rights worker in Alabama soon after the march at Selma.   Her stories conjure up America's fast-changing history, and are filled with vivid, contrasting images:  a swinging party at Hugh Hefner's mansion, being a young volunteer helping patients in a Chicago mental hospital,   waiting in a Birmingham, Alabama  church to hear  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speak.


 Many of her  stories are shaped by her sense of  surprise  and serendipity as she encounters  moments of magic and chance.  From Harvard to Playboy swizzle sticks to a  Pulitzer-prize winner who fools her  with a magic trick,  Julie Wosk reveals her sense of  wonder  as she enters into  these vastly different worlds.