"O'Connor has now, in Boston A to Z, written a book about everybody's Boston... All the expected things are there - the Public Garden and Fenway Park, the Tea Party and busing- along with others that it is a constant delight to come upon unexpectedly, like the Brink's robbery, the Steaming Kettle, and the Watch and Ward Society of 'Banned in Boston' fame... That is what Boston is all about - a place to wander, encountering both the grand and the curious. And one could not have a better companion than Tom O'Connor - if not in person, then in Boston A to Z." - Michael Kenney, Boston Globe
From its origins as a Puritan settlement on the Shawmut Peninsula to the multicultural capital of the knowledge industry that it is today, the city of Boston has played a significant role in our nation's history. In this book, the preeminent historian of Boston, Thomas H. O'Connor, takes readers on a delightful tour of the city, past and present. Drawing on lifelong acquaintance as a native son and scholar, O'Connor has assembled a personal, informal and eclectic series of essays about Boston's people, places and events. Along the way you will meet figures of national significance and local heroes (or rogues), from John Adams and Phillis Wheatley to "Honey Fitz" and the Brink's gang; visit spaces sacred and profane, from the African Meeting House and Holy Cross Cathedral to Filene's Basement and the L Street Bathhouse; learn about institutions of civic importance and local colour, from the Museum of Fine Arts and Massachusetts General Hospital to private clubs and nightspots; and be enlightened about the lore surrounding such quintessentially Boston topics as baked beans, the Curse of the Bambino, and the Steaming Kettle. "Boston A to Z" wears its learning lightly but never fails to inform as it entertains. While celebrating some of Boston's finest achievements, it doesn't shy away from darker episodes. Longtime residents will find enlightenment about familiar and arcane aspects of their city, and visitors or newcomers will enjoy an engaging introduction to the life, culture and history of Boston.