Publishers Weekly, 1995-01-23 How did the Puritan settlers of Massachusetts Bay Colony, within just a generation of its founding in 1630 and against enormous odds, establish a thriving, diversified, family-based economy? In illuminating this phenomenon, Innes's impressive revisionist study sweeps away conventional notions of mercantile New England as a place of rugged individualism and economic backwardness. He shows that individualistic striving was anchored in a communal context whereby family, church, town organizations and commonwealth linked personal to collective well-being, providing a counterweight to unbridled capitalistic behavior. Innes, a University of Virginia history professor, argues persuasively that the Puritans' sustaining myth of redemptive communityætheir belief that they were a chosen, ``convenant people'' working out God's designsæimbued economic development with spiritual purpose. Massachusetts, the crucible of America's Puritan work ethic, in Innes's estimate achieved a ``moral capitalism'' with levels of prosperity, education, family stability and life expectancy unrivaled in British America. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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