“We must congratulate Butler for [bringing] under control [a] profusion of scholarship and [making] sense of it in fewer than 250 pages. His book is a tour de force…Compelling and readable.”—Gordon S. Wood, New Republic
“Americans today think of the colonial period, if at all, as a time remote from modern America, in which society was unimaginably different from ours. Butler argues persuasively that America during the late colonial period…displayed distinctive traits of modern America, among them vigorous religious pluralism, bewildering ethnic diversity, tremendous inequalities of wealth, and a materialistic society with pervasively commercial values.”—Kirkus Reviews
Multinational, profit-driven, materialistic, power-hungry, religiously plural: America today—and three hundred years ago. Jon Butler’s panoramic view of the mainland American colonies after 1680 transforms our customary picture of pre-Revolutionary America; it reveals a strikingly “modern“ character that belies the eighteenth-century quaintness fixed in history. Stressing the middle and late decades (the hitherto “dark ages”) of the American colonial experience, Butler shows us vast revolutionary changes in a society that, for ninety years before 1776, was already becoming America.