Robert J. Allison


History of Boston: A free, on-line course!
Here is a free, on-line course on Boston history we are developing at Suffolk.

The American Revolution: A Concise History
A brief but engaging history of the American Revolution. John Adams said the story would be one continued lie from one end to the other. Try to avoid that.

Interesting Narrative of Olaudah Equiano
Widely admired for its vivid accounts of the slave trade, Olaudah Equiano's autobiography -- the first slave narrative to attract a significant readership -- reveals many aspects of the eighteenth-century Western world through the experiences of one individual. The second edition reproduces the original London printing, supervised by Equiano in 1789. Robert J. Allison's introduction, which places Equiano's narrative in the context of the Atlantic slave trade, has been revised and updated to reflect the heated controversy surrounding Equiano's birthplace, as well as the latest scholarship on Atlantic history and the history of slavery. Improved pedagogical features include contemporary illustrations with expanded captions and a map showing Equiano's travels in greater detail. Helpful footnotes provide guidance throughout the eighteenth-century text, and a chronology and an up-to-date bibliography aid students in their study of this thought-provoking narrative.

“The introduction enlightens as well as intrigues. It enables students with no prior background in eighteenth-century history to see the book in its character as a work of Christian witness against slavery and the slave trade, and still leaves them eager to read it as an adventure story, too.”

— Fred Anderson
University of Colorado, Boulder

The Boston Tea Party
Why did the Tea Party lead to the Revolution? Why was this the moment from which there was no turning back? And what about the events of December 1773 have given it such contemporary resonance?

The Boston Massacre
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Stephen Decatur: American Naval hero
Born to an immigrant Philadelphia family in 1779, Stephen Decatur became at age twenty-five the youngest man ever to serve as a captain in the U.S. Navy. His intrepid heroism, leadership, and devotion to duty made him a perfect symbol of the aspirations of the growing nation. Leading men to victory in Tripoli, the War of 1812, and the Algerian war of 1815, and coining the phrase "Our country, right or wrong," Decatur created an enduring legend of bravery, celebrated in poetry, song, paintings, and the naming of dozens of towns—from Georgia to Alabama to Illinois.
Decatur’s friendships with James Madison, John Quincy Adams, and others made him a rising star in national politics. He and his wife Susan built an elegant home near the White House, which became a center of Washington society. The capital and the nation were shocked when Decatur was killed at the age of forty-one in a duel with a rival navy captain. Although he died prematurely, Decatur played a significant role in the shaping of the nation’s identity at a time when the American people were deciding what kind of nation they would become.

"Before 1776: Life in the American Colonies"
Deepen your appreciation of the formative era before the birth of America with Before 1776: Life in the American Colonies. In 36 lectures, Professor Robert J. Allison tells the epic story of the events that led from the first settlement at Jamestown to the eve of the Revolutionary War. Along the way, you examine in-depth topics such as the Mayflower Compact, the Pennsylvania Quaker colony, and the French and Indian War; encounter individuals including Captain John Smith, Mary Rowlandson, and Olaudah Equiano; and explore new ideas about society, religion, agriculture, and economics that emerged from this tempestuous, eventful, and formative period in our nation's dramatic history.

Short History of Boston
Boston has a topographical history and an encyclopedia. There are histories of the Boston Red Sox, the Boston Symphony, and other great institutions in the city. But there is no good short history of the city itself, not in print anyway, not until now. With economy and style, Dr. Robert Allison brings Boston history alive, from the Puritan theocracy of the seventeenth century to the Big Dig of the twenty-first. His book includes a wealth of illustrations, a lengthy chronology of the key events in four centuries of Boston history, and twenty short profiles of exceptional Bostonians, from founder John Winthrop to heavyweight champion John L. Sullivan, from "heretic" Anne Hutchinson to Russian-American author Mary Antin. In his course on Boston history at Suffolk University, Allison leads students on walking tours of the city. A Short History of Boston is a tour through history with an engaging, knowledgeable guide.

The Crescent Obscured: The United States and the Muslim World 1776-1815
From the beginning of the colonial period to the recent conflicts in the Middle East, encounters with the Muslim world have helped Americans define national identity and purpose. Focusing on America's encounter with the Barbary states of North Africa from 1776 to 1815, Robert Allison traces the perceptions and mis-perceptions of Islam in the American mind as the new nation constructed its ideology and system of government.

"A powerful ending that explains how the experience with the Barbary states compelled many Americans to look inward . . . with increasing doubts about the institution of slavery." —David W. Lesch, Middle East Journal

"Allison's incisive and informative account of the fledgling republic's encounter with the Muslim world is a revelation with a special pertinence to today's international scene." —Richard W. Bulliet, Journal of Interdisciplinary History

"This book should be widely read. . . . Allison's study provides a context for understanding more recent developments, such as America's tendency to demonize figures like Iran's Khumaini, Libya's Qaddafi, and Iraq's Saddam." —Richard M. Eaton, Eighteenth Century Studies

Third in a series that began with Allison's "A Short History of Boston," this concise narrative covers four colorful centuries. Here are the key events in Cape Cod history, with over twenty personal profiles of historic figures, more than 100 black-and-white photographs, a detailed chronology, and an index. There's enough detail here to fascinate the historian and enough stories to fill an enjoyable day at the beach. Discovered by Bartholomew Gosnold in 1602 and visited by the Mayflower on its way to Plymouth, Cape Cod has been the site of confrontations between Pilgrims and natives, between Patriots and Tories. Salt works and windmills, lighthouses and shipwrecks, and characters as varied as radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi and playwright Eugene O'Neill have given Cape Cod a unique landscape and a fascinating human community. "Men once set out to hunt whales from Provincetown Harbor," Allison writes. "Today boats go to watch the whales and study them. The land remains though it continues to change, as the relentless tide and wind reshape the land and remove all evidence that any of us-Native people or Vikings, Pilgrims or Presidents, explorers, warriors, poets, painters, or entrepreneurs-ever set foot on this sandy beach."

Short History of Cape Cod
If you have a shelf of great Cape Cod histories - like Thoreau's Cape Cod, or Berger's Cape Cod Pilot or Kittredge's Cape Cod: Its People and Their History - you'd better make room, because we now have a Cape history for the twenty-first century: Robert Allison's A Short History of Cape Cod. It's fast, informative, fascinating, and filled with images, old and new, that will keep you coming back. Get it and read it, and you'll want to get into the car and drive straight to the Cape.
--William Martin, New York Times Bestselling Author of Cape Cod and City of Dreams.

Selected Works

A Free, On-Line course!
Here is a free, on-line course on Boston history we are developing. Open to all--join and learn more about this great city!
My most recent book.
A Concise History of the American Revolution
The Autobiography of an extraordinary man.
Concise account of the Tea Party.
A concise account of the event that touched off the Revolution
The life and career of the greatest American naval hero.
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First encounters between the U.S. and the Muslim World
A short history of Cape Cod, and the men and women who have lived on its sandy hills.
Lecture series--DVD or CD
A 36-lecture course on Colonial America.

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