Rather than defining himself by an occupation, John Stachel follows the Emersonsonian tradition and defines himself as "a man doing political organizing, union organizing, theoretical physics, history of science, philosophy of science, and Einstein editing", to name some of the things he has done in the course of his life. Academically, his goal has been to take a problem that puzzles him and follow this problem wherever it leads him, regardless of disciplinary boundaries.
This two-volume collection of published and unpublished papers span an academic career of over forty years. An introductory essay explains his credo and in particular the unity behind the apparent diversity of his interests.
The first volume includes discussions of topics in: the methodology of science, such as the role of scientific practice, the nature of creativity, and scientific theories as historical artifacts, quantum mechanics, such as the significance of quantum logic and the role of Feynman's approach, Marxism, such as why Marxism is still relevant today, Marx's critical concept of science, and its relation to critical realism.
True to his credo, technical, historical and philosophical aspects of some problem are often treated in the same paper.
The second volume, The Practice of Relativity, will include many of his papers on the special and general theories of relativity. His papers on Einstein have already been published in "Einstein from 'B' to 'Z'".