Best Books About Boston

November 19, 2012 2:12 AM

Brookline Booksmith

Inside of Brookline Booksmith (credit:

bookstorebrunovincent72593848 Best Books About Boston

credit: Bruno Vincent/Getty Images

Boston is a city with a long history, photogenic neighborhoods and interesting features. As such, it’s is the topic of countless books, from its inception to now. That means everything from the Puritans to the Boston Marathon is tucked away between the pages of books in both words and pictures. The best of these books offer a deeper look at the city, opening up all of the nooks and crannies of both the city itself and the society that has sprung up within it.

‘Boston’s Secret Spaces: 50 Hidden Corners In and Around the Hub’ from the Boston Globe and Robin Brown
Brookline Booksmith
279 Harvard St. B
Brookline, MA 02446
(617) 566-6660

“Boston’s Secret Spaces: 50 Hidden Corners In and Around the Hub” is a fantastic book for anyone looking to find everything that Boston is hiding behind its attractive museums and parks. This book includes photos, history and visiting information for each of these so-called secret spaces. Also Included is a giant globe with a walkway through the center of the Earth; an oft-missed optical illusion, and gardens hidden in the tight spaces between buildings. As a peek into places that even Bostonians miss, “Boston’s Secret Spaces” is at home both in the hands of tourists and locals.

Related: 5 Must Read Books By Boston Authors

‘Walking Tours of Boston’s Made Land’ by Nancy S. Seasholes
Barnes and Noble
170 Boylston St.
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

“Walking Tours of Boston’s Made Land” takes history and combines it with enjoyment of America’s best walking city. The book is broken down into several walks, each of which features its own map to make it easy for visitors to find their ways around the places described in the book. All of these walks cover at least some places that simply did not exist on Boston’s Shawmut Peninsula when the land was first settled by the Puritans. Over the course of its history, Boston has expanded through land reclamation. That is what this book is about: the land reclamation projects of Boston and what they have given the city.

‘A Comic Book History of Boston’ by Boston Comics Roundtable 
Million Year Picnic
99 Mount Auburn St.
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 492-6763

“A Comic Book History of Boston” stands out because it is a legitimate history book, but presented with comics. It was created by the artists and writers of Boston Comics Roundtable. They are essentially a group of Boston’s most enthusiastic comic creators who get together and do special projects, including this book. It provides a new way of looking at the history of one of the oldest cities in the country.

‘Boston: Then and Now’ by Patrick L. Kennedy
Barbara’s Bookstore
720 Atlantic Ave.
Boston, MA 02111
(617) 443-0060

“Boston: Then and Now” is a photograph book that shows Boston in historical as well as modern photographs. Together, they show the contrast between historic Boston and Boston as it is today. Some of Boston’s most famous landmarks are featured, including Old North Church and Fenway Park. Patrick L. Kennedy is a native of Boston, who has written about Boston history for publications such as Boston Globe Magazine and the Historical Journal of Massachusetts.

‘Boston Organized Crime’ by Emily Sweeney
800 Boylston St. #179
Boston, MA 02199
(617) 247-6959

The author of “Boston Organized Crime” is Emily Sweeney, a Dorchester native who writes on a variety of subjects regarding this history of Boston crime. In this book, she uses images to portray the eras of organized crime in the city’s history. Some of the photographs in the book are from crime scenes, and were not published until this novel came out in 2012. There is more in this book than most would want to know about Boston’s sordid past.

Related: Boston Best Independent Bookstores

Shelly Barclay is a professional freelance writer and amateur author. She writes on a variety of topics from food to mysteries. She loves to share the culture and rich history of her birthplace and home, Boston, with the rest of the world. Her work can be found at