Judith Ridner provides important new insights to multiple audiences in her excellent new study of Carlisle, Pennsylvania's first half-century of settlement. Students of early Pennsylvania will no doubt benefit from this comprehensive narrative of the development of proprietor Thomas Penn's new administrative seat for his sprawling interior Cumberland County. Generalists in early American studies will also be enriched by Ridner's deft analysis of how the residents of Carlisle contributed in material ways to such well-known intercolonial and national events as the French and Indian War, American Revolution, Constitutional ratification, and Whiskey Rebellion. Ultimately, A Town In-Between successfully balances the need for intimate detail of local and specialized interest with the forging of broader thematic connections that speak to much wider audiences.

Central to Ridner's argument for Carlisle's broader importance was its status as a place “in-between.” Her book does not elaborately theorize this framework, but rather allows its multiple meanings...

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