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Activists in City Hall Cover

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Activists in City Hall

The Progressive Response to the Reagan Era in Boston and Chicago

by Pierre Clavel

In 1983, Boston and Chicago elected progressive mayors with deep roots among community activists. Taking office as the Reagan administration was withdrawing federal aid from local governments, Boston's Raymond Flynn and Chicago's Harold Washington implemented major policies that would outlast them. More than reforming governments, they changed the substance of what the government was trying to do: above all, to effect a measure of redistribution of resources to the cities' poor and working classes and away from hollow goals of "growth" as measured by the accumulation of skyscrapers. In Boston, Flynn moderated an office development boom while securing millions of dollars for affordable housing. In Chicago, Washington implemented concrete measures to save manufacturing jobs, against the tide of national policy and trends.

Activists in City Hall examines how both mayors achieved their objectives by incorporating neighborhood activists as a new organizational force in devising, debating, implementing, and shaping policy. Based in extensive archival research enriched by details and insights gleaned from hours of interviews with key figures in each administration and each city's activist community, Pierre Clavel argues that key to the success of each mayor were numerous factors: productive contacts between city hall and neighborhood activists, strong social bases for their agendas, administrative innovations, and alternative visions of the city. Comparing the experiences of Boston and Chicago with those of other contemporary progressive cities-Hartford, Berkeley, Madison, Santa Cruz, Santa Monica, Burlington, and San Francisco-Activists in City Hall provides a new account of progressive urban politics during the Reagan era and offers many valuable lessons for policymakers, city planners, and progressive political activists.

Arts and Crafts Architecture Cover

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Arts and Crafts Architecture

History and Heritage in New England

Maureen Meister

This book offers the first full-scale examination of the architecture associated with the Arts and Crafts movement that spread throughout New England at the turn of the twentieth century.

Although interest in the Arts and Crafts movement has grown since the 1970s, the literature on New England has focused on craft production. Meister traces the history of the movement from its origins in mid-nineteenth-century England to its arrival in the United States and describes how Boston architects including H. H. Richardson embraced its tenets in the 1870s and 1880s. She then turns to the next generation of designers, examining buildings by twelve of the region’s most prominent architects, eleven men and a woman, who assumed leadership roles in the Society of Arts and Crafts, founded in Boston in 1897. Among them are Ralph Adams Cram, Lois Lilley Howe, Charles Maginnis, and H. Langford Warren. They promoted designs based on historical precedent and the region’s heritage while encouraging well-executed ornament. Meister also discusses revered cultural personalities who influenced the architects, notably Ralph Waldo Emerson and art historian Charles Eliot Norton, as well as contemporaries who shared their concerns, such as Louis Brandeis. Conservative though the architects were in the styles they favored, they also were forward-looking, blending Arts and Crafts values with Progressive Era idealism. Open to new materials and building types, they made lasting contributions, with many of their designs now landmarks honored in cities and towns across New England.

The Athens of America Cover

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The Athens of America

Boston, 1825-1845

Thomas H. O'Connor

Many people are generally familiar with the fact that Boston was once known as “the Athens of America.” Very few, however, are clear about exactly why, except for their recollections of the famous writers and poets who gave the city a reputation for literature and learning. In this book, historian Thomas H. O’Connor sets the matter straight by showing that Boston’s eminence during the first half of the nineteenth century was the result of a much broader community effort. After the nation emerged from its successful struggle for independence, most Bostonians visualized their city not only as the Cradle of Liberty, but also as the new world’s Cradle of Civilization. According to O’Connor, a leadership elite, composed of men of prominent family background, Unitarian beliefs, liberal education, and managerial experience in a variety of enterprises, used their personal talents and substantial financial resources to promote the cultural, intellectual, and humanitarian interests of Boston to the point where it would be the envy of the nation. Not only did writers, scholars, and philosophers see themselves as part of this process, but so did physicians and lawyers, ministers and teachers, merchants and businessmen, mechanics and artisans, all involved in creating a well-ordered city whose citizens would be committed to the ideals of social progress and personal perfectibility. To accomplish their noble vision, leading members of the Boston community joined in programs designed to cleanse the old town of what they felt were generations of accumulated social stains and human failures, and then to create new programs and more efficient institutions that would raise the cultural and intellectual standards of all its citizens. Like ancient Athens, Boston would be a city of great statesmen, wealthy patrons, inspiring artists, and profound thinkers, headed by members of the “happy and respectable classes” who would assume responsibility for the safety, welfare, and education of the “less prosperous portions of the community.” Designed for the general reader and the historical enthusiast, The Athens of America is an interpretive synthesis that explores the numerous secondary sources that have concentrated on individual subjects and personalities, and draws their various conclusions into a single comprehensive narrative.

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Beyond Vietnam

The Politics of Protest in Massachusetts, 1974-1990

Robert Surbrug, Jr.

Narratives of the 1960s typically describe an ascending arc of political activism that peaked in 1968, then began a precipitous descent as the revolutionary dreams of the New Left failed to come to fruition. The May 1970 killings at Kent State often stand as an epitaph to a decade of protest, after which the principal story becomes the resurgence of the right. In Beyond Vietnam: The Politics of Protest in Massachusetts, 1974–1990, Robert Surbrug challenges this prevailing paradigm by examining three protest movements that were direct descendants of Vietnam-era activism: the movement against nuclear energy; the nuclear weapons freeze movement; and the Central American solidarity movement. Drawing lessons from the successes and failures of the preceding era, these movements had a significant impact on the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, which itself had been undergoing major transformations in the wake of the 1960s. By focusing on one state—Massachusetts—Surbrug is able to illuminate the interaction between the activist left and mainstream liberalism, showing how each influenced the other and how together they helped shape the politics of the 1970s and 1980s. During these years, Massachusetts emerged as a center of opposition to nuclear power, the continuing Cold War arms race, and Ronald Reagan’s interventionist policies in Central America. The state’s role in national policy was greatly enhanced by prominent political figures such as Senator Edward Kennedy, Speaker of the House Thomas “Tip” O’Neill, presidential candidate Governor Michael Dukakis, Vietnam veteran Senator John Kerry, and moderate Republican Silvio Conte. What Beyond Vietnam shows is that the rise of the right in the aftermath of the 1960s was by no means a unilateral ascendancy. Instead it involved a bifurcation of American politics in which an increasingly strong conservative movement was vigorously contested by an activist left and a reinvigorated mainstream liberalism.

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The Birds of New Jersey

Status and Distribution

William J. Boyle Jr.

New Jersey provides some of the most varied and exciting birding in North America, and more than 450 species have been recorded in the state. Yet there has been no comprehensive and readily available guide to the status and distribution of all these species--until now. The Birds of New Jersey is the most up-to-date and succinct guide for the birds of New Jersey and includes all species known to the state from historical times to the present. Featuring over 200 color photos of rarities and regular species, this book authoritatively provides individual entries that include a summary of status and seasonal distribution, and comments on changes over time. Detailed color-coded maps accompany species accounts, and for species recorded five or fewer times, dates and locations of each record are noted. The introduction examines the state's geography, the history of bird records, and background information to species accounts, and the extensive bibliography guides birders to original sources used in the book. This is the essential resource for birders, ornithologists, and nature enthusiasts interested in the birds of New Jersey and the greater surrounding region.

  • Most up-to-date status and distribution guide for New Jersey and surrounding region
  • All bird species known to the state
  • Species accounts describe the preferred habitat and abundance of species
  • Range maps in color detail seasonal distribution
  • For migratory birds, spring and fall migration times indicated
  • More than 200 color photographs of rare and common species

Books and Religious Devotion Cover

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Books and Religious Devotion

The Redemptive Reading of an Irishman in Nineteenth-Century New England

By Allan F. Westphall

In Books and Religious Devotion, Allan Westphall presents a study of the book-collecting habits and annotation practices of Thomas Connary, an Irish immigrant farmer who lived in New Hampshire in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Connary led a pious life that revolved around the use, annotation, and sharing of religious books: his surviving annotated volumes provide a revealing glimpse into the utility of books for a common reader and into how one remarkable non-elite reader imagined book utilities and the iconic status of religious books. Through a careful excavation of book adaptations and enhancements, Westphall establishes a profile of an eccentric reader-cum-annotator that gives us insight into the range of opportunities provided by the material book for recording and communicating a reader’s religious fervor. The study also investigates the broader nineteenth-century cultural setting, in which books are seen as testimonies of personal faith and come to function as instruments of social interaction in both domestic and public spheres. Underlying Connary’s many and varied interactions with books is a belief that physical objects can materialize belief, and that working in them can be a devout exercise instrumental in human salvation.

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Borscht Belt Bungalows: Memoirs Of Catskill Summers

Every year between 1920 and 1970, almost one million of New York City's Jewish population summered in the Catskills. Hundreds of thousands still do. While much has been written about grand hotels like Grossinger's and the Concord, little has appeared about the more modest bungalow colonies and kuchaleins ("cook for yourself" places) where more than 80 percent of Catskill visitors stayed.These were not glamorous places, and middle-class Jews today remember the colonies with either aversion or fondness. Irwin Richman's narrative, anecdotes, and photos recapture everything from the traffic jams leaving the city to the strategies for sneaking into the casinos of the big hotels. He brings to life the attitudes of the renters and the owners, the differences between the social activities and swimming pools advertised and what people actually received. He reminisces about the changing fashion of the guests and owners—everything that made summers memorable.The author remembers his boyhood: what it was like to spend summers outside the city, swimming in the Neversink, "noodling around," and helping with the bungalow operation, while Grandpa charged the tenants and acted as president of Congregation B'nai.

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Boston's Cycling Craze, 1880-1900

A Story of Race, Sport, and Society

Lorenz J. Finison

From 1877 to 1896, the popularity of bicycles increased exponentially, and Boston was in on it from the start. The Boston Bicycle Club was the first in the nation, and the city’s cyclists formed the nucleus of a new national organization, the League of American Wheelmen. The sport was becoming a craze, and Massachusetts had the largest per capita membership in the league in the 1890s and the largest percentage of women members. Several prominent cycling magazines were published in Boston, making cycling a topic of press coverage and a growing cultural influence as well as a form of recreation. Lorenz J. Finison explores the remarkable rise of Boston cycling through the lives of several participants, including Kittie Knox, a biracial twenty-year-old seamstress who challenged the color line; Mary Sargent Hopkins, a self-proclaimed expert on women’s cycling and publisher of The Wheelwoman; and Abbot Bassett, a longtime secretary of the League of American Wheelman and a vocal cycling advocate for forty years. Finison shows how these riders and others interacted on the road and in their cycling clubhouses, often constrained by issues of race, class, religion, and gender. He reveals the challenges facing these riders, whether cycling for recreation or racing, in a time of segregation, increased immigration, and debates about the rights of women.

Boston Strong Cover

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Boston Strong

A City's Triumph over Tragedy

Casey Sherman

Veteran journalists Casey Sherman and Dave Wedge have written the definitive inside look at the Boston Marathon bombings with a unique, Boston-based account of the events that riveted the world. From the Tsarnaev brothers’ years leading up to the act of terror to the bomb scene itself (which both authors witnessed first-hand within minutes of the blast), from the terrifying police shootout with the suspects to the ultimate capture of the younger brother, Boston Strong: A City’s Triumph over Tragedy reports all the facts—and so much more. Based on months of intensive interviews, this is the first book to tell the entire story through the eyes of those who experienced it. From the cop first on the scene, to the detectives assigned to the manhunt, the authors provide a behind-the-scenes look at the investigation. More than a true-crime book, Boston Strong also tells the tragic but ultimately life-affirming story of the victims and their recoveries and gives voice to those who lost loved ones. With their extensive reporting, writing experience, and deep ties to the Boston area, Sherman and Wedge create the perfect match of story, place, and authors.

If you’re only going to read one book on this tragic but uplifting story, this is it.

Boston Cover

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Boston

Voices and Visions

Shaun O'Connell

“New England was founded consciously, and in no fit of absence of mind,” observed historian Samuel Eliot Morison on the establishment of the Bay Colony in 1630 on the narrow, mountainous Shawmut peninsula of what became Massachusetts. That self-conscious presence of mind has endured for four centuries. Boston has been shaped and sustained by observation, imagination, and interpretation. As a result, the evolving vision of Boston has yielded a compelling literary record. In this wide-ranging anthology, Shaun O’Connell includes a generous sampling of those who have recorded, revised, and redefined the vision of Boston. Anne Bradstreet, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry James, W. E. B. Du Bois, Mary Antin, Edwin O’Connor, John Updike, and many others eloquently evoke and explain Boston in these pages. From John Winthrop’s “city upon a hill” sermon, delivered aboard the Arbella before his followers landed in 1630 in the place they would call Boston, to Robert Lowell’s “For the Union Dead,” a poem delivered in Boston’s Public Garden in 1960, writers have continued to invoke the high purposes for which the city was founded, sometimes in praise of the city, but often in what Robert Frost named a “lover’s quarrel,” in works that called attention to the city’s failures to fulfill its promises. In the twenty-first century some writers continue to celebrate or to castigate the city, while others look back to Boston’s origins to reassess its founders and renew its covenant of high purpose. This is an interpretive anthology—one that includes commentary as well as writings. Section introductions provide historical and biographical context, offer analysis that stresses the thematic relevance of each selection, and explore the pattern of their relations. Rather than present a random array of writers who happen to have been Greater Bostonians, O’Connell focuses on those authors who possessed a commitment to the sense of place, those who addressed Boston not only as a geographical, social, and political entity but as an image, idea, and site of symbolic values

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