In a wide-ranging introduction Merriman reflects on his decades of research and on his life, lived increasingly in France. At the beginning of his career he was determined to be not a narrow specialist but a historian who engaged with all the regions of France. So he set himself the goal of doing archival research in every single département of the country. A permanent resident of the small village of Balazuc in the Ardèche for more than twenty-five years, he laments what he sees as the over-professionalization of history at the expense of passion for one’s field. Yet Merriman is no cranky, tweed-bound scholar. Beloved by generations of historians of France, many of whom he has mentored (both as a graduate advisor and more informally), Merriman offers reflections on his life in history that will be of interest to a broad audience of historians.