This week, Hill and Wang, an imprint of FSG specializing in books on American history, published Brown historian Robert O. Self’s All in the Family: The Realignment of American Democracy Since the 1960s. Self sees the civil rights, gay rights, feminist, and antiwar movements, as well as evangelical Christianity and neoliberal economics, as threads in a single grand narrative. Rethinking the past fifty years of American political life, he is the first to argue that competing ideas of the family fractured liberalism and paved the way for the rise of the conservative right. All in the Family has been seven years in the making. We asked Self to write about the process, from the first spark of inspiration to the submission of the final draft. What follows is a year by year account of how a historian conceptualizes, researches, and writes a book. Year 1 Los Angeles. I want to write a book about this amazing city, where I find myself in 2005 with a fellowship at the Huntington Library, near Pasadena. My first book was about race in postwar Oakland, and my new idea seems simple enough: what would the urban crisis of the 1960s look like in one city—a city that famously exploded in the 1965 Watts riot—if I paid as much attention to gender as to race?