Charleston and Savannah
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Charleston and Savannah

The Rise, Fall, and Reinvention of Two Rival Cities

Title Details

Pages: 360

Illustrations: 19 b&w images

Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in



Pub Date: 02/01/2023

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6319-6

List Price: $39.95


Pub Date: 02/01/2023

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6321-9

List Price: $114.95


Pub Date: 02/01/2023

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6320-2

List Price: $39.95


Pub Date: 02/01/2023

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6811-5

List Price: $39.95

Subsidies and Partnerships

Published with the generous support of Wormsloe Foundation Publications

Charleston and Savannah

The Rise, Fall, and Reinvention of Two Rival Cities

The story of two of America’s favorite historic cities of the South

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  • Description
  • Reviews

Thomas D. Wilson’s Charleston and Savannah is the first comprehensive history of Charleston and Savannah in a single volume that weaves together the influences and parallels of their intrinsic stories. As two of the earliest English-speaking cities founded in America, Charleston and Savannah are among the nation’s top historic sites. Their historic characters, which attract millions of visitors each year, are each a rich blend of cultural, environmental, and socioeconomic elements. Yet even with this popularity, both cities now face a challenge in preserving their authentic historic character, natural beauty, and environmental quality. Wilson charts the ebb and flow of the progress and development of the cities using various through lines running within each chapter, constructing an overall character assessment of each.

Wilson charts the economic rise of these port cities, beginning with their British foundations and transatlantic trade in the colonies through to their twentieth-century economic declines and resurgences. He examines the cultural and economic aspects of their Lowcountry landscapes and their evolution as progress and industrialization made their mark. Employing both quantitative and qualitative methodologies in his comparisons of the two cities, he considers their histories, natural landscapes, weather patterns, economies, demographics, culture, architecture, city planning, and infrastructure. While each has its own civic and cultural strengths and weaknesses, both are positioned as historically significant southern cities, even as they assess aspects of their problematic pasts.

Thomas D. Wilson is thoughtful on the impacts of preservation movements and the outside impact of tourism in Charleston and Savannah. These two cities, which are important examples of historic preservation and, more recently, contests over race and class in historical tourism and memory, certainly merit attention.

—Jonathan Mercantini, author of The Stamp Act Crisis: Taxation. Authority and the American Revolution

Charleston and Savannah is the logical conclusion of a trilogy of two well-respected books by Thomas D. Wilson. It compares the development of the two cities beyond the colonial period into the present day and examines issues of design, trade, slavery, industry, transportation, education, tourism, culture, etc. It will appeal to historians of many stripes (southern, social, urban, etc.), historical geographers, city planners, or anyone interested in these two historic cities.

—Christopher E. Hendricks, author of The Backcountry Towns of Colonial Virginia

A deeply reasoned and serious work, full of analyses and epiphanies, truly a must-read for those interested in the souls, psyches and salvations of each place. . . . The book is a tribute, a love song, a corrective and a wake-up call to two of American’s most distinctive cities, written with the hope that they can keep their uniqueness and character and not be lost to history.

—Harlan Greene, The Post and Courier

Wilson utilizes quantitative and qualitative methods in his analyses and examines various aspects of the cities’ evolution, such as landscape, demographics, city planning, economies, and weather. Well-written and thorough, this work will certainly appeal to historians, geographers, city planners, architects, and tourists looking to deepen their knowledge of these two distinctive Southern cities.

—Adam Townes, Georgia Library Quarterly

In the tradition of Lewis Mumford, he makes a serious attempt to explain more than three centuries of urban history, from the English colonial founders, through development as seaports, exploitation of surrounding land as plantations, industrial growth and stagnation, up to current issues of preservation and social inequality.

—Rivanna Review

Wilson’s primary audiences, historically-minded urban planners and activists, as he well understands, need to look both backward and forward to analyze and meet the complex challenges facing these two prominent Lowcountry cities. In these thoughtful chapters, he shows them how to do so.

—Marissa Jenrich, Civil War Book Review

About the Author/Editor

THOMAS D. WILSON is a planner, author, and independent scholar who lives near Nashville, Tennessee. He is the author of The Oglethorpe Plan: Enlightenment Design in Savannah and Beyond and The Ashley Cooper Plan: The Founding of Carolina and the Origins of Southern Political Culture.