by C. Vann Woodward; Louisiana State University Press; 157 pages; $12.95.
In this wry and mellow memoir, the Yale historian C. Vann Woodward reflects on his choice of career, on the books he has written, and on his critics. The book is, in fact, dedicated to the critics, without whom his life would have been simpler but less interesting, he says. The enormous popular success of The Strange Career of Jim Crow , his seventh book, astonished him. And because it reinterpreted the then-accepted history of Reconstruction, the book also brought angry protests from Southern critics. He was labeled an ideologue, a moralist, a radical.
Thinking back over his career, Woodward muses about the influences and motives that have led him to write “history-with-a-purpose.”