Virtually every news article about new Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust mentions her background as a historian. More to the point, she is a historian of the American South. For insight into some of the qualities that will no doubt serve President Faust well in her tenure—among them her strong sense of justice and her understanding of the ways people try to make sense of their world—read this deeply personal statement on why Faust chose a historian's path. The essay “Living History” appears in SHAPERS OF SOUTHERN HISTORY: AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL REFLECTIONS. In the book Faust and other southern history heavyweights reflect on their career choices. They write eloquently of family and upbringing, teachers and mentors, and defining events and serendipitous opportunities.