I just learned today that the New Jersey Studies Academic Alliance (NJSAA), an organization of scholars devoted to the promotion of New Jersey studies, has awarded their 2009 Book Award in Scholarly Non-Fiction to The Way of Improvement Leads Home.
“Fea’s book was special because it aimed to relate New Jersey history with the Enlightenment, surely a goal that demonstrates that books on New Jersey topics can be and often are relevant to those outside our state.”
“Fithian’s diary is one of the most-cited pieces of literature that survives from 18th-century America. But all most folks know about him is that he was born in southern NJ and served as a tutor on a plantation–where he acted the part of a cultural anthropologist writing an ethnography–before he returned home and died early in the Revolution. Fea does a great job of situating his work and provides a critical context for understanding Revolutionary New Jersey. He also looks at the enlightenment in rural areas, courtship, travel, and the role of Presbyterians in moving the Revolution forward. I found myself regularly citing the book in my graduate course on NJ history.”
“Fea does a nice job of explaining various 17th and 18th century terms and side notes (I thought the beginning of the volume would be wonderful for a college class studying this early period) and he has the volume well supplemented with excellent images and very helpful maps.”