This edited volume is the result of a series of interdisciplinary conferences and seminars sponsored by the Renaissance Trust between 1990 and 1995 to examine “Achievement in Intellectual and Material Culture in Early Modern Europe” (p. 3). Historians of science, culture, the economy, and architecture and urban design were brought together to reflect on the intersections between past achievements in their respective fields within urban centers, as well as on the transfer of those achievements from one urban place to the next over time. These scholars were also called upon to consider the connections between the findings of more traditional “case-study” urban history and the grand narratives of modern development and geopolitical conflict. All of the contributors to this volume agreed to address the same meta question: “Why do recognized and celebrated achievements, across several fields of endeavor, tend to cluster within cities over relatively short periods of time?” (p. 5). In a schema entirely consistent with the Braudelian paradigm of early modern development (Fernand Braudel, The Perspective of the World. New York, 1981–84.), three cities in particular were chosen as representative of these episodic peaks of early modern achievement: Antwerp, Amsterdam, and London in roughly the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries respectively. The chapters of the book are thus organized in groups of three, with one chapter devoted to each area of endeavor in each of the three cities, beginning with their material bases in economic growth and ending with high culture as exemplified by the arts, books, and scientific research and discovery.