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The City-State of Boston: The Rise and Fall of an Atlantic Power, 1630–1865 Hardcover – April 23, 2019

4.7 out of 5 stars 72 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


"Winner of the James P. Hanlan Book Prize, New England Historical Association"

"[A] richly detailed history." ―
New Yorker

"An original and provocative take. . . . [
The City State of Boston is] ambitious, fluid and worldly."---Alex Beam, Wall Street Journal

"Peterson leads us through [Boston’s] Enlightenment ideals and how they clashed with the city's links to the American South's slave-driven economy. A meaty, methodical exploration of a crucial American founding stronghold." ―

"An immense, fresh history of the ‘city upon a hill’ conceives of the place as an independent city-state that was absorbed into the new country that arose around it. Boston’s current moment―at once privileged and peculiar―suggests the value of considering its distinctive past in light of powerful, imaginative scholarship, in the deft hands of the author, now at Yale." ―
Harvard Magazine

"Remarkable. . . . [A] fresh and original interpretation of colonial New England [and] engagement with what are, in the end, fundamentally moral questions.
The City-State of Boston is an engaging blend of small change and big ideas."---John Turner, Patheos

"The most detailed and entertaining history of Boston that’s been written so far."
---Steve Donoghue, Christian Science Monitor

The City State of Boston is a is an ambitious work based on prodigious research. It provides a richly detailed narrative and includes an enormous cast of characters, some of whom will be familiar to readers, though many will not."---Virginia DeJohn Anderson, Times Literary Supplement

"Mark Peterson’s long-awaited
The City-State of Boston presents a breath-taking thesis: Boston’s history from its first English settlement through the American Civil War ought to be understood as the rise and fall of an independent city-state. . . . Peterson’s description of the Constitution of the United States is startling."---Mark Valeri, William and Mary Quarterly

The City-State of Boston will be a landmark in the literature. . . . [It’s a] powerful and compelling story."---John L. Brooke, Journal of the Early Republic


“Mark Peterson’s story of the rise and fall of the city-state of Boston over nearly three centuries is a remarkable achievement. He has told the story in such a rich and extraordinary way that our understanding of Boston’s history will never again be the same.”―Gordon S. Wood, Pulitzer Prize–winning historian and author of Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson

“A daring reworking of the narrative of Boston that Americans have come to know and love,
The City-State of Boston may discomfit those who cherish the story of Puritans, revolutionaries, and abolitionists as it has been told. But Mark Peterson’s rich and meticulously researched account will be indispensable reading for everyone interested in the history of North America.”―Annette Gordon-Reed, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family

“By examining the long rise and eventual eclipse of Boston as a regional power, Mark Peterson vividly and insightfully reflects on the sources and distortions of American nationalism. In this wide-ranging book, Peterson deftly explores the interplay of global commerce with local identities and historical mythmaking.”
―Alan Taylor, Pulitzer Prize–winning historian and author of American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750–1804

The City-State of Boston is a book of prodigious erudition, which rests on a vast corpus of knowledge about Boston and its regional, continental, national, and international connections. Peterson writes with great subtlety and empathy about people whose mores and meanings were vastly different from our own. A deep and important study, with tremendous sweep and boundless ambition.”―Jane Kamensky, author of Revolution in Color: The World of John Singleton Copley

he City-State of Boston takes an epic and magisterial look at the rise of one of the great cities of British North America and the early United States. I am confident that historians will be talking about this important book’s argument for years to come.”―Peter C. Mancall, author of Fatal Journey: The Final Expedition of Henry Hudson

"Boston was not 'a city upon a hill,' Mark Peterson argues in his important new biography of the city. It was instead a city-state that dominated its New England hinterland for more than two centuries as it made a distinctive place for itself in the Atlantic world.
The City-State of Boston is a major contribution to early American studies."―Peter S. Onuf, coauthor of "Most Blessed of the Patriarchs": Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination

"Mark Peterson’s deeply researched, centuries-sweeping
The City-State of Boston offers readers a compelling new take on the northern Atlantic port that looms so large in American mythology. This is a biography of Boston from cradle to maturity, and a twenty-first century narrative of decline that, along the way, questions the very value of nationhood."―Wendy Warren, author of New England Bound: Slavery and Colonization in Early America
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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Princeton University Press (April 23, 2019)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 784 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0691179999
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0691179995
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 2.75 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.5 x 2.25 x 9.5 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 72 ratings

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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
72 global ratings

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