Few states have as colorful a political history as Alabama, especially in the post-World War II era. During the past six decades, the state played a central role in the civil rights movement, largely moved away from its earlier farm-based economy and culture, and transitioned from a relatively moderate-progressive Democratic Party politics to today's hard-core conservative Republican Party domination. Moving onto and off Alabama's electoral stage during all these transformations have been some of the most interesting figures in 20th-century American government and politics. Swirling around these elected officials in the Heart of Dixie are stories, legends, and jokes that are told and retold by political insiders, journalists, and scholars who follow the goings-on in Washington and Montgomery. In Alabama, it seems, politics is not only a blood sport but high entertainment. There could be no better guide to this colorful history than political columnist and commentator Steve Flowers.