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Eden on the Charles: The Making of Boston download epub

by Michael Rawson


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If you've ever lived in Boston, Michael Rawson's Eden on the Charles is a great book to help understand how Boston developed in the 19th Century. You may know the basic transformation of Boston from a small ithsmus surrounded by shallow flats to the larger bustling city of today.

If you've ever lived in Boston, Michael Rawson's Eden on the Charles is a great book to help understand how Boston developed in the 19th Century. For a book labeling a city as Eden, it's mostly about conflict.

Eden on the Charles book. TheIf you've ever lived in Boston, Michael Rawson's Eden on the Charles is a great book to help understand how Boston developed in the 19th Century.

Автор: Rawson Michael Название: Eden on the Charles: The Making of. .

The book shows how, in Boston, different class and ethnic groups brought rival ideas of nature and competing visions of a city upon a hill to the process of urbanization-and were forced to conform their goals to the realities of Bostons distinctive natural setting.

Drinking a glass of tap water, strolling in a park, hopping a train for the suburbs: some aspects of city life are so familiar that we don’t think twice about them. But such simple actions are structured by complex relationships with our natural world. Eden on the Charles explores how Bostonians channeled country lakes through miles of pipeline to provide clean water; dredged the ocean to deepen the harbor; filled tidal flats and covered the peninsula with houses, shops, and factories; and created a metropolitan system of parks and greenways, facilitating the conversion of fields into suburbs.

An impressive selection of case studies that reveal how Boston helped shape the remarkable growth of American cities in the 19th century. 0 days, 0 hours, 0 minutes, 0 seconds until the 2019 Pulitzer Prize announcement.

Michael J. Rawson is a historian, author, and associate professor at the City University of New York's (CUNY) Brooklyn College. He was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for History in 2011 for Eden on the Charles: The Making of Boston. The book explores Boston's development in relation to its natural surroundings. Rawson received the American Public Works Association (APWA) Abel Wolman Award in 2011.

Michael Rawson’s Eden on the Charles explores the interplay between society and ecology in the development of Boston. Acknowledging the agency of both forces, Rawson makes an important contribution to a growing field of urban and social history that is increasingly erasing the line between natural and social history and replacing it with a synergistic unity.

Lawrence Valley Geographical Society. 1 0 5 Eden on the Charles: The Making of Boston By Michael Rawson Marcos Luna .

Drinking a glass of tap water, strolling in a park, hopping a train for the suburbs: some aspects of city life are so familiar that we don’t think twice about them. But such simple actions are structured by complex relationships with our natural world. The contours of these relationships—social, cultural, political, economic, and legal—were established during America’s first great period of urbanization in the nineteenth century, and Boston, one of the earliest cities in America, often led the nation in designing them. A richly textured cultural and social history of the development of nineteenth-century Boston, this book provides a new environmental perspective on the creation of America’s first cities.

Eden on the Charles explores how Bostonians channeled country lakes through miles of pipeline to provide clean water; dredged the ocean to deepen the harbor; filled tidal flats and covered the peninsula with houses, shops, and factories; and created a metropolitan system of parks and greenways, facilitating the conversion of fields into suburbs. The book shows how, in Boston, different class and ethnic groups brought rival ideas of nature and competing visions of a “city upon a hill” to the process of urbanization—and were forced to conform their goals to the realities of Boston’s distinctive natural setting. The outcomes of their battles for control over the city’s development were ultimately recorded in the very fabric of Boston itself. In Boston’s history, we find the seeds of the environmental relationships that—for better or worse—have defined urban America to this day.


Comments: (7)

Dalarin
Really helpful book! We read it in my environmental history class.
Xar
Simply magnificent. LOVE.
Faegal
Rawson does a good job of relating the development of Boston to the changing of values of nature. The original settlers reserved Boston Common for grazing cows, As the years went by the concern for agriculture dwindled and other concerns took its place. Rawson tells the story remarkably well.
SmEsH
Product arrived quickly and was a good, quick read.
Felolv
I always like to know the background histofry of an area.
Drelalen
Rawson's overview of how Boston took shape is fascinating. I particularly enjoyed his section on the Middlesex Fells, and its origins in Yankee nostalgia for a vanished landscape at the time of the centennial. Highly recommended!
Gardagar
If you've ever lived in Boston, Michael Rawson's Eden on the Charles is a great book to help understand how Boston developed in the 19th Century. You may know the basic transformation of Boston from a small ithsmus surrounded by shallow flats to the larger bustling city of today. For a book labeling a city as Eden, it's mostly about conflict. Conflict between the classes and conflict between different visions of the city. It uses those conflicts to highlight five developments in the city.

The first conflict is over the use of the Boston Common. In the early days of the city it was a common pasture. As the city grew, the common became a spot for recreation. That transformation increased as the affluent residents began calling Beacon Hill home. The conflict arose between those looking to keep agriculture in the city and those who wanted more recreation in the city (and didn't enjoy dodging cow patties).

The second conflict was over potable water. For centuries, residents were able to supply water through wells in the city. By the middle of the 19th century, wells became inadequate. The conflict was between those who thought water should be delivered by the government or by private parties. By this time in the city's history there were a few companies privately supplying water. Once the decision fell in favor of the government, the conflict was over how to pay for it. On one side was a movement to have it paid through general tax revenue. On the other was those who wanted it paid through a usage charge. Anyone who has paid a water bill knows how this was finally resolved.

The third conflict was over the suburbs. Boston offered water, streetlights, and police protection. The outlying communities ( West Roxbury and Brookline in particular) offered a rural lifestyle, allowing you to escape from the frenzy of the city. While residents enjoyed the idyllic lifestyle in the more rural communities, they also enjoyed the peace that came from good roads, streetlights, and clean water supplied by the city. Ultimately, West Roxbury failed to deliver the services wanted by the residents and they agreed to be annexed by Boston. Brookline did a better job implementing resident services and managed to avoid the lure of annexation.

The fourth conflict discussed in the book was over filling the harbor. Throughout its history Boston has slowly grown as landowners began filling in the flats that surrounded the isthmus. By the middle of the 19th century mariners became concerned that the harbor's shipping lanes were getting filled with debris. The conflict ended up being one that turned on scientific reasoning and political will. Little was understood about the hydrological forces taking place in the harbor that made it such a good harbor for that time period.

The last topic had the least conflict. Everyone wanted to preserve some wilderness in the outlying regions of the city. The biggest targets were Blue Hills, Lynn Woods, and Middlesex Fells.

This is a serious book. It was a finalist in for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for History. It's well written. At times, it's breezy and easy to read. At other times, it slogs through the topics.

If you have an interest in the history of Boston or enjoying reading about the environmental history you will find lots of good reading in Eden on the Charles. If you don't have those interests... Well that's probably not you because they would have stopped reading well before this point in this essay.
Public or private? Insider or outsider? Nature or industry? These questions are the heart of many political discussions; we hear them as often today as long-dead Bostonians did when arguing about whether cows should be allowed to graze in common park areas. And argue they did. Michael Rawson does an excellent job exploring how these questions shape the development of a city like Boston in his 2014 book, Eden on the Charles: the Making of Boston.

Urban spaces are often thought of as devoid of environment. Rawson proves this sentiment a misconception as early city development was one manipulation of the environment after another -- a true “built environment.” This theme is explored through five specific instances of development (or, pointedly, non-development) in Boston: the Boston Common, access to drinking water, suburban living, harbor access, and publically accessible wild-lands. Is the Boston Common best used for recreation or production? Wealth contributed significantly to one’s opinion on each of these subjects.

Rawson’s writing is clear and direct -- the best example of this is “Chapter Two: Constructing Water.” The question of public vs. private is the main division, though anxiety about Irish immigration colors the argument with questions about who belonged in the city at all. Eventually, social reformers were able to pave the way for the first American water system that was at its core an idealized kind of humanitarian reform.

While the chapters on the Boston Common and water were particularly strong, the chapter about suburban development left me with questions unanswered by Rawson’s text. How do ideas about feminine domesticity influence the idealization of rural suburbs and estate living during the 1860s and on? He explains the environmental and demographic pressures, but this subject needs more robust discussion about the social and gendered pressures as well.

Overall, this book is an excellent delve into early Boston and the history of its development. The strength of this book is its ability to ask a reader to think about the environment not just as un-touched wilderness but also as a manipulable frame upon which cities build their own version of the environment. Highly recommended!
Eden on the Charles: The Making of Boston download epub
Americas
Author: Michael Rawson
ISBN: 0674048415
Category: History
Subcategory: Americas
Language: English
Publisher: Harvard University Press; 1 edition (October 1, 2010)
Pages: 384 pages