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Maryland: A Bicentennial History by Carl…
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Maryland: A Bicentennial History (1978)

by Carl Bode

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This is a highly readable, episodic account of the history of Maryland. Part of the States and the Nation series issued in honor of the American Bicentennial, the author points out that he was limited to two hundred pages. Fearing that trying to generalize and condense all pertinent facts would "sound like the Encyclopedia Britannica on a gray day", Bode chose to create what he describes as a "mosaic", focusing on a few individuals and "grouting" their stories with connecting facts. He quotes from a colonial prospectus urging settlers to come to an Edenic colony, an indentured slave who became one of the wealthiest men in Maryland, a pioneer of the then wild West, a Eastern Shore waterman-turned-preacher, crooked politicians, and his beloved H.L. Mencken, and the growth of the planned communities of Greenbelt and Columbia. The style makes the book less dated than a more conventional history would be.

The reader will not learn when the first settlers arrived on the Ark and the Dove, will get a real sense of the personality of the state. ( )
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To my fellow author Janet Bode with love
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Bode has written a book of episodes, roughly chronological, picking persons and events with an eye to how they illuminate Maryland's past. These stories are told in some detail, forming a mosaic, often in contrasting tones. For instance, George Alsop proclaims the attractions of colonial Maryland, Daniel Dulany benefits handsomely from them, and Ebenezer Cooke jeers at the same attractions. Bode makes some omissions for the sake of space, but tries to give a sense of the variety and quality of Maryland experience. The Maryland of the eighteenth century, and to a lesser extent, the nineteenth century, was almost like another country, and he has emphasized getting a sense of that Maryland. The section on the twentieth century deals chiefly with the era of H.L. Mencken, and with the development of planned communities, like Greenbelt and Columbia. This book is part of the series The States and the Nation, published for the national Bicentennial of the American Revolution by W.W. Norton & Co., Inc., and the American Association for State and Local History, with financial support for editorial work from the National Endowment for the Humanities. 1 [adapted from the preface and jacket]
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