Authoritative and perceptive, this sweeping survey covers 150 years of cultural evolution in colonial America, from 1607 to 1763. Developments in religion, literature, education, and social thought receive a thorough analysis, enlivened by a blend of wit and panache that captures all the excitement of forming a new civilization. Written by a distinguished scholar and educator who served as director of the Folger Shakespeare Library and specialized in the colonial era, this volume addresses a broad array of topics: the region's agrarian society and leadership; influence of non-English elements; variety of religions and zeal for education; reading habits and the desire for learning; literary production in the North and South; drama, music, and other diversions; architecture and the decorative arts; scientific interests and observations; and many other fascinating subjects. "A significant contribution to early American history that will be appreciated alike by the amateur and the professional." — American History Review.