"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.