Nestled in the heart of the Finger Lakes region, Auburn, New York, is home tosome of the key figures in our nation’s history. Both William Seward and HarrietTubman lived in Auburn, as did Martha Coffin Wright, a pioneering figurein the struggle for women’s suffrage. Auburn’s significance to American life,however, goes beyond its role in political and social movements. The seeds ofAmerican development were sown and bore fruit in small urban centers likeAuburn. The town’s early and rapid success secured its place as a cornerstoneof the North American industrial core. Anderson chronicles the story of Auburn and its inhabitants, individuals withthe skills and ingenuity to nurture and sustain an economy of unprecedentedgrowth. He describes the early settlers who capitalized on the rich geographicadvantages of the area: abundant water power and access to transportationroutes. The entrepreneurs and capital that Auburn attracted built it into a thrivingcommunity, one that became a center of invention, manufacturing, andfinance in the mid-nineteenth century. Just as the high profits and rapid accumulationof wealth allowed the community to prosper and grow, these factorsalso initiated its decline. Anderson traces Auburn’s momentous rise and gradualdecline, illustrating American capitalism in its rawest form as it played out insmall towns across the nation.