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We launch this site just as our city and the United States again find the opportunity for an honest reckoning with their past. In sharing stories of Greater Bostonians who challenged oppression and exploitation, we hope to contribute to present conversations. As readers will discover, our forebears were hardly silent or passive. Instead, they took on the powerful, setting out their grievances and often proposing alternatives. As such, their voices must be added to current dialogues and debates. More than merely promoting a book, this website will call attention to the struggles and issues raised by it. 

A People’s Guide to Greater Boston is available for purchase from independent bookstores throughout Greater Boston. It is also available for purchase online from vendors such as BookShop.org and the University of California Press.

Front Cover, A People’s Guide to Greater Boston.


Joseph Nevins was born and raised in Dorchester and is Professor of Geography at Vassar College. His books include A Not-So-Distant Horror: Mass Violence in East Timor; Dying to Live: A Story of U.S. Immigration in an Age of Global Apartheid; and Operation Gatekeeper and Beyond: The War on “Illegals” and the Remaking of the US-Mexico Boundary.

Suren Moodliar lives in Chelsea. He is a coordinator of encuentro5, a movement-building space in Boston, and editor of the journal Socialism and Democracy. He co-edited Noam Chomsky’s Internationalism or Extinction (2020), Turnout! Mobilizing Voters in an Emergency (July 2020) with Matt Nelson and Charlie Derber, and coauthored Chomsky for Activists (2021) with Paul Shannon and Charlie Derber.

Eleni Macrakis grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and now works in the field of affordable housing development in the Greater Boston area. She holds a Master in Urban Planning from Harvard University.

Please visit the acknowledgments page for more insight into the manifold and diverse contributions empowering this project.

About the book and our larger project

A People’s Guide to Greater Boston is available via your local, independent bookstore or online via the University of California Press website or Bookshop.org.

A “people’s guide” is necessarily an unending project. The book is but one intervention into the historical dramas that are playing out in our lands. It offers neither the first nor the last words. This website is a forum to continue the conversation, a place to reflect on the book’s stories, rethink the narratives, and enrich the movements that the book explores.

On this website, we feature some of the sites described in the book, add new ones, and think about candidates for an expanded “People’s Guide to Greater Boston.” As such, it does not replace the book (yes, please buy or borrow a copy), but it furthers the book and its strategy of telling stories about particular places in order to introduce or better understand the movements they have engendered, and the region and the places within that they reflect.

We also use the site to plan new projects, announce and detail our walking tours, and provide commentary on current topics before our city–which we also do via our facebook page. As such, it is also a place for dialogue with the authors and other contributors to the conversations.

To learn more about the book, check out this video (below) that we made in November 2020, for the first Massachusetts Book Bites, an online event co-produced by the Boston Book Festival and the Massachusetts center for the Book.


Lithuanian Hall

17 St. George Avenue, Norwood In the late 1800s, a significant Lithuanian population resided in South Boston. By 1900, some of them had moved to Norwood—particularly South Norwood, a part of town with a lot of multifamily, working-class, and tenement-like housing. According to historian Patricia Fanning, heavily immigrant, polyglot South Norwood was “like a foreign …

YWCA Building/Office of 9 to 5

140 Clarendon Street, Back Bay A few months after the March 4, 1929, opening of the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) building on Clarendon Street, Boston Business featured an article about the new facility. The 13-story structure, gushed the Boston Chamber of Commerce publication, has “practically everything conducive to the welfare—physical, mental and spiritual—of the …

Morrill Memorial Library, South Norwood Branch

1159 Washington Street, Norwood On November 9, 1951, FBI agents visited the South Norwood branch of the Morrill Memorial Library to speak with Mary Knowles, a librarian. They asked about individuals she knew and their involvement in the Communist Party. Knowles declined to answer their questions. Mary Knowles was of interest because she had worked …


Please contact the authors via info >at< bostonbook [dot] org