Comprehensive and accessible, The Colonial Era: A Documentary Reader offers a clear and original framework for studying the important issues in colonial American history. It opens with the maximum possible breadth, and then narrows the geographical focus in moving from the sixteenth/seventeenth centuries to the eighteenth century. The author pursues thematic breadth as well, recognizing that it is also crucial for understanding colonial America. Visual images, in the form of fine art, are included, along with photographs of material culture remains, from porcelain plates, to reconstructed colonial interiors, to photographs of colonial houses as they exist today. Such sources help students consider exactly what a "primary source" is, and at what point a modern transformation of that source turns it into a secondary source.