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Beyond the Farm: National Ambitions in Rural New England (Early American Studies) Hardcover – March 18, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0812240627 ISBN-10: 0812240626

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Product Details

  • Series: Early American Studies
  • Hardcover: 280 pages
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press (March 18, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812240626
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812240627
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,894,535 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Opal's book beautifully and uniquely captures an important moment when at least a few American men looked up from their plows toward a modern distant horizon, put them down, and walked toward it."—American Historical Review

"Opal convincingly takes the reader through the transformations of ambition in rural New England as they intersected with the emergence of liberalism, capitalism, the nation, and modernity."—Journal of the Early Republic

"Through the lives of six 'ordinary' rural men who left their fathers' farms in search of something better, Jason Opal explains how ambition came to stand near the center of U.S. national character. Both a collective biography and a sweeping historical synthesis, Beyond the Farm sheds new light on the transformation of civil society and boldly revises our understanding of the emergence of capitalism."—Catherine E. Kelly, University of Oklahoma

About the Author

J. M. Opal is Associate Professor of History at McGill University.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Barry J. Levy on July 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
A first rate piece of scholarship that contrasts the emphasis on individual competency and independence characteristic of Massachusetts colonial society with the growing self-fashioning ambitiousness of the early national period in the state. Opal has a good feel for Massachusetts society, though he relies too much on the shibboleth family labor system. He is especially good on the impact of academies and new teaching strategies like emulation. He tends to ignore military careers among the people he studies, emphasizing intellectuals and clergy. Still a good read and rewarding. Engaging stories.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Extremely insightful and well written. Very well researched. Enjoyed following the lives of the people and their struggles. Highly recommended!
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