- Paperback: 281 pages
- Publisher: Harvard University Press; Abridged edition (December 5, 1986)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0674930592
- ISBN-13: 978-0674930599
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #877,861 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Urban Crucible: The Northern Seaports and the Origins of the American Revolution Abridged Edition
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About the Author
Gary B. Nash is Professor of History Emeritus, University of California, Los Angeles, and Professor and Director, National Center for History in the Schools.
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Nash uses estate inventories to show the relative wealth of an average urbanite of a particular social station at their death and then compares them with decedent's who were of a similar station in the other cities. His use of tax lists and poor relief records to point out the economic health of these urban centers adds a dimension not normally seen when talking about the colonial period.
One criticism of the book is that Nash focuses primarily on Boston, even when Boston dropped in prominence to become the third-largest city in colonial America. A second criticism is that Nash does not tell how the changes that started in the cities, trickled down to rural society. A weak point of the book is in its presentation of the information. Nash states that he created the abridged version to make the book more available to undergraduates and the general public. (xv) Though written for the general public, it still comes across as a dry scholarly work, which interferes with processing the concepts that Nash offers. I was disappointed that something that showed such great promise was hindered by its inability to convey its message.