The Provincial traces Calvin Coolidge's life from his thirteenth birthday until his graduation from Amherst College ten years later. It is a story of a shy young man from the country who gradually acquires an education and goes on to higher and higher levels of learning, but in Coolidge's case that progress was very much against his will. He grew up in the remote farming hamlet of Plymouth Notch, Vermont, eleven miles from the nearest railroad; his stern, thrifty father made money selling insurance and maple sugar, holding local offices, and renting property. Coolidge looked forward to someday keeping the general store his father owned, only a hundred feet from his house, and passing his life in this isolated, close-knit community, among people he knew and liked. This book shows how his intelligence, his love of reading, and his father's ambitions for him pushed him unwillingly farther and farther away. First he was sent to the local academy, eleven miles away, to study Latin and Greek. Then, on the enthusiastic recommendation of his high school principal, he went on to Amherst College in Massachusetts. On his first attempt to enter he became physically sick and had to return home. The following year he tried again, and this time he stayed, but he was desperately unhappy the first two years and asked his father in vain to be allowed to come home. In the end, however, Amherst turned out to be a success story for him. Overlooked for the first two years by the sleek metropolitan young men who set the tone for the student body, shut out of fraternities and social life because of his shyness and country ways, he finally impressed his classmates with his dry sarcasm in debate, his ready wit, his unshakable poise and self-control. At the same time, he himself was changed and broadened. Under the influence of great Amherst professors like Charles E. Garman and Anson D. Morse, he became sure of himself and well read in history, philosophy, and political science. Even so, as he graduated to the acclaim of his classmates, he still yearned to go home to Plymouth Notch and settle there. The Provincial ends with Coolidge's graduation; a brief afterword explains how he took up law and local politics to please his father, and how hard work and intelligence led him to the Presidency.