Mary Ann Radzinowicz's volume comprises texts from the American colonial period, which bear witness to the extraordinary diversity of writing at this time. All the texts are permeated by a strong historical consciousness. Indeed five of the ten writers selected called their writing 'histories'. What we see emerging from the writers is a particular American identity, full of idealism and a strong emotional commitment to ideas, culminating in the Declaration of Independence and the metamorphosis of America from colony to nation. Professor Radzinowicz has written a substantial introduction to the volume in which she provides a history of the thirteen colonies, exploring the social, theological, intellectual and political expectations of the early settlers. This volume will be indispensable reading for students of American literature and history.