cover image Back Home: Journeys Through Mobile

Back Home: Journeys Through Mobile

Roy Hoffman. University of Alabama Press, $32.95 (380pp) ISBN 978-0-8173-1045-5

After 21 years in New York City, Roy Hoffman (Almost Family) returned with his wife and daughter to his hometown of Mobile, Ala. Back Home: Journeys Through Mobile is a collection of his writings feature stories, memoirs, essays about the town, many of which were previously published in the Mobile Register. Hoffman interviews many of Mobile's distinctive characters, like Joseph Langan, a longtime Mobile mayor now in his 80s, who was once vilified as a Communist by whites who thought he was too sympathetic to blacks, and a racist by blacks who didn't agree. Herbert Aaron Sr., father of the great home-run hitter Hank Aaron, tells Hoffman why so many great baseball players are Mobile sons. These stories were written to explore what Hoffman calls a ""sense of place,"" and they eloquently answer the question that so troubles the author upon his return: ""[W]hat's left to tell me where I am?""