"Reflections of a native Californian on his lifelong passion for history and for the South."
Southerners I meet usually get around to asking me how I came by my interest in the South’s history. If I were from the South, I think, the question probably would not come up. And if it did (or so I imagine) it would be a different sort of question altogether—something between insiders, more nuanced, more advanced. But because I keep getting asked, subtly but pretty clearly, where my interest in the South comes from, I have come to ask it of myself. It isn’t a simple question, as I think many nonsoutherners who study the South would agree. I don’t have an answer so much as a set of acknowledgments, a kind of preface to recognition, which I hope others will share.