IN MY EXPERIENCE, WRITING IS PAINFUL AND PAINSTAKING WORK-- I like to write much less than I like to have written--but research and the conceptual shaping of a book are pure delight. When I completed my second book early in 1972, the idea for the next one had been percolating for some time. In retrospect, it was the logical, almost inevitable, outgrowth of my early work in the history of education. My first book had dealt with one man's--John Locke's--influential views on education for the gentle classes of Stuart England. The subject of my second book, The School upon a Hill: Education and Society in Colonial New England,* was the role of education in one relatively homogeneous culture. Both had been written largely to teach myself something about the social and cultural history of Anglo- America and its English progenitor. But both were limited in scope by youth and inexperience. They ignored the other (North) American cultures and unduly foreshortened the colonial period by ignoring the whole sixteenth century.
While searching for sensible limits of study, I had been impressed by Francis Parkman's early and unwavering desire to write the "history of the American forest," the now-classic story of the clash of French, English, and Indian cultures. Although I____________________