I would not have been able to complete this book without the generous help of many people. The manuscript began many years ago as a dissertation at Harvard, where I was blessed with wonderful mentors. My primary advisor, Lizabeth Cohen, read countless drafts, wrote pages of astute comments, and spent hours talking with me about the project. She continually encouraged, inspired, and challenged me. Lawrence Buell transformed the way I think about cities, introducing me to a new world of ideas about space and place, geography, and environmental criticism. His wisdom about both scholarly matters and life in general has been invaluable. I could not have completed graduate school, survived my first years of university teaching, and written this book without Bruce Schulman. A brilliant scholar, masterly lecturer, insightful editor, and generous mentor, Bruce Schulman embodies the ideal of the teacher-scholar. I cannot thank him enough for all his help.
One of the most important things I received in graduate school was a core of brilliant friends on whom I still rely on for guidance: Salamishah Tillet, Dagmawi Woubshet, Hua Hsu, and David Mulrooney. I would additionally like to thank Sonia Lee, Matthew Briones, Michael Kimmage, Kimberly Sims, Heather Lewis, Robert Breugmann, Matthew Lasner, Kevin Burke, Evelyn Higginbotham, Margaret Crawford, Julian Zelizer, Martha Nadell, Sharon Zukin, Becky Nicolaides, and others for reading and commenting on the project at different stages. From the days of being my mentor at the Miller Center at the University of Virginia, Tom Sugrue has generously read and commented on different versions of the project. His insight has been invaluable.
My colleagues at the American Studies Department at George Washington University have been wonderfully supportive these past several years: Terry Murphy, James Miller, Kip Kosek, Libby Anker, Phyllis Palmer, Melani McAlister, Chad Heap, and John Vlach. Richard Longstreth, Tom Guglielmo, and Elaine Peña generously read and commented on parts of the manuscript. I could not have completed the project without them. The History Department’s Tyler Anbinder, Richard Stout, and Chris Klemek and the Geography Department’s Elizabeth Chacko and David Rain have provided important feedback about the project as well. Cartographer Nuala Cowan helped design the book’s many maps.