Anglo-American unity. When I was very young, I was taken onrnboard Winston Churchill’s flying boat, which was moored inrnBaltimore harbor. I still remember the sight of a huge flyingrnbedstead of Churchillian proportions. From such moments,rncareers are made. I also remember the British seamen whornwere invited into our house, and told us tales of events they hadrnwitnessed. Every Christmas we were given red boxes ofrnBritain’s soldiers, and my parents talked at the table aboutrnbooks such as Clarence Strcit’s Union Now with Britain. Wernwent to events that were sponsored by the English SpeakingrnUnion. Shortly after the war, when the Band of the BlackrnWatch visited the Fifth Regiment Armory, my brother and Irnwere cheering from the bleachers. My mother was one of thernfirst female undergraduates at Johns Hopkins. She majored inrnEnglish literature, and mv’ brother and 1 were raised on Tennysonrnand Shelley.rnThe world of my upbringing was stronglv Anglophile, andrnvery conscious of its colonial origins. All of mv books grew fromrnthose beginnings. Even after vc moved north to a city that isrnmostly Irish Catholic, and I began to teach at a university thatrnis Jewish in its sponsorship, I was so secure in m^ Anglo-Saxonrnattitudes that I did not expect Albion’s Seed to be controversial.rnPerhaps it would not have been so, had it been published onlyrna few years earlier.rnBut the book appeared in 1989, coinciding with two movementsrnthat suddenly were very strong in the universities andrnmaybe stronger in the mass media—multiculturalism and politicalrncorrectness. When my book appeared, it generally receivedrnpositive reviews. But in academe a book that argued forrnthe importance of having been English was not thought to bernpolitically correct. A book that gave much attention to themesrnof continuity from past to present was not thought to be historicallyrncorrect. A book that centered on the determinant powerrnof individual choice was not thought to be ontologically correct.rnAlbion’s Seed was no sooner launched than it sailed into a searnof controversy. I had no idea of the depth of feeling until deathrnthreats began to arrive. They yvere crudely lettered, anonymous,rnand always postmarked in university towns. One of therndeath threats had footnotes. The FBI and the Postal Inspectorrnsaid they had never seen a death threat with footnotes.rnThis went on for several years. Academic smposia were organizedrnon the book. Young colleagues in ited me with highrnceremony, took turns in reviling the book, then took me to dinner,rnand assured me it was nothing personal. I replied withrnmore research, in the naive hope that evidence might persuadernthem. I also reminded my critics they were responding to anrnargument for the importance of having been English, and forrnthe cultural persistence of the past, by heaping old-fashionedrnAnglo-Saxon epithets upon my head. I suggested that it yvouldrnhave been more consistent and multicultural of them if theyrnabused me in Algonkian or Swahili. This made no impression.rnMulticulturalism often means a settled hostility to one culturernin particular.rnAt first I thought it was mainly that sort of controversy—anrnethnic issue, linked to the changing composition of my professionrnand our nation. The Census Bureau now makes periodicrnsurveys of ethnic origins. It has found that only about 18 percentrnof Americans think they have any British ancestors at all.rnThere is some question about the accuracy of these self-reportedrnsurveys. When Americans are asked who their ancestorsrnmay have been, 10 percent are recorded as having no opinion.rnSome don’t know. Others won’t say, or insist that they arernAmericans. More than a few told the census taker that their ancestorsrnare none of the government’s business. The largestrnnumber of people who say these things live in the Southernrnhighlands, and other places where most people are of Britishrnorigin. Perhaps as many as 25 percent of Americans are at leastrnpartly of British descent, but still a very small minority. Irnthought at first that this was what it was about—a collision ofrnethnic identities. In some degree it was so, but some of myrnfiercest critics were themselves of Anglo-Saxon origin. Cleadrnsomething else was going on.rnI also believed that much of the controversy rose from differencesrnof ideology. In my own politics I am a little to the left ofrncenter, which presently puts me on the far right of academe.rnThis was clearly a factor in the response to my book. But herernagain, some of my critics were not very far from my own politicalrnopinions. Something more was at issue.rnAnother clue appeared in the I990’s. The controversy continuedrnfor seeral years. Then even stranger things began tornhappen to my book. Suddenly, the tone began to change. Tornmy amazement, some of the most outspoken critics began tornfiraise what was in the book, even in print, without any apparentrnsense of inconsistency. Sales of the book began to increase,rnat a time in the publishing cycle when most books move thernother way. The contents of the book had not changed. Somethingrnelse was happening, apart from the book itself.rnIt seemed increasingly clear that the academic controversyrnover Albion’s Seed was not so much ethnic or ideological, butrngenerational in its origin. I began to notice that most of myrncritics were of a generation very different from my own. IfrnWorld War II was the defining public event on my youth, anotherrnAmerican generation was shaped by the experience ofrnVietnam and Watergate. We differed not merely in our answers,rnbut our questions. I wanted to know how and why anrnopen society worked in America. My critics demanded to knowrnwhy it was not more open. Their passion persuaded me that inrnlaet the opening-process is still going on, and the older questionsrnare still sound. But they had a different point of view.rnNow, the generation of Vietnam is graying rapidly. Theirrnchildren are coming to the university, and we are beginningrnto see a third generation who have been defined by otherrnliistorical events such as the collapse of the Soviet Union, thernrevival of liberal democrac)- around the world, and our persistentrnproblems at home.rnThis new generation has a different set of attitudes towardrnhistory. In the mid-1990’s, at the same time that academic attitudesrnwere changing vet again on Albion’s Seed, I began to noticernthat other changes were happening in the writing andrnteaching of history—mostly changes for the better. One wouldrnnever know about them by reading the newspapers, which givernus the bad news from academe. Journalistic coverage of my disciplinernhas tended to center on reports that young people don’trnknow much about history, and on the battle over the new HistoryrnStandards that the Senate condemned by a vote of 99 tornone, and on the controversies at the Smithsonian.rnOther things are also happening in the historiographiealrnworld. Journalists who cover the universities are largely unawarernof them. The first signs appeared in the classroom. In the latern1980’s, enrollment in history courses began to grow. The numberrnof history majors also began to increase. They had beenrnshrinking since the late I960’s. Durmg the late 1980’s thesern16/CHRONICLESrnrnrn