The Early Modern Commons

Recent Book Reviews

Book reviews from the last 6 months.

Newman's Idea and Reality of University Education

In The Weekly Standard, Edward Short reviews a new book on Blessed John Henry Newman's theory of university education and its reality:Until now, the two most highly regarded books on Newman’s treatment...

Review: Andrew Beaumont, Colonial America & the Earl of Halifax, 1748-1761

Frequent guest poster Christopher F. Minty reviews Andrew Beaumont's new book, "Colonial America & the Earl of Halifax, 1748–1761" (OUP, 2015).
From The Junto on 21 Apr 2015

Father Rutler on the Parables

Father Rutler originally wrote these essays on the parables of Jesus in Crisis Magazine 13 years ago, so a diligent web researcher (like me) could find them on-line. In each of the 24 chapters of...

The Royalist Revolution: Monarchy and the American Founding

Book Review: The Royalist Revolution: Monarchy and the American Founding, by Eric Nelson (Cambridge: Belknap Press, 2014) The Royalist Revolution, by Eric Nelson, provides a fresh take on the American...

“Your Most Affectionate Friend…”

Tom Cutterham reviews Cassandra Good's debut book, "Founding Friendships: Friendships between Men and Women in the Early American Republic" (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015).
From The Junto on 13 Apr 2015

Book Review – Breast Cancer in the Eighteenth Century

Breast Cancer in the Eighteenth-Century by Marjo Kaartinen (London: Pickering Chatto, 2013), 256 pp Print: £60  eBook: £24    Breast Cancer in the Eighteenth Century is a compelling...
From Deviant Maternity on 15 Mar 2015

Samuel Pepys and the Popish Plot

Accusations of treason against Samuel Pepys were a side product of the Popish Plot: he was accused of being a Catholic (treason enough in England then) and of providing naval secrets to France. The two...

Edward Short Interviews Paul Shrimpton

Newman scholar Edward Short interviews Paul Shrimpton for The Catholic World Report (Short had previously reviewed Shrimpton's book for The Weekly Standard). Two questions piqued my interest: a look at...

Review and Giveaway: MADEMOISELLE CHANEL by C. W. Gortner

MADEMOISELLE CHANEL by C. W. GortnerWilliam Morrow/HarperCollins, March 2015384 pagesISBN: 978-0062356406What happens when an author known for his convincing, dramatically compelling depictions of the...
From Writing the Renaissance on 26 Mar 2015

Review: FLASK OF THE DRUNKEN MASTER by Susan Spann

FLASK OF THE DRUNKEN MASTER by Susan Spann (Minotaur, 2015) continues the exciting adventures of ninja spy Hattori Hiro and the Portuguese priest he must protect in sixteenth century Japan. While Kyoto...
From Writing the Renaissance on 9 Aug 2015

The Great Courses: The Birth of the Modern Mind: the Intellectual History of the 17th and 18th Centuries

Once again, Audible delivered the goods. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this excellent lecture series by Professor Alan Charles Kors. For those of you who study philosophy, the content may...
From The Seventeenth Century Lady on 21 Apr 2015

General Washington’s Commando: Benjamin Tallmadge in the Revolutionary War

Book Review: General Washington’s Commando: Benjamin Tallmadge in the Revolutionary War by Richard F. Welch. Jefferson (McFarland & Company, 2014). While most historians agree that American victory...

Blenheim: The Battle for Europe by Charles Spencer

Although the Battle of Blenheim took place in the 18th Century, the historical persons involved were extremely important in Late 17th-century European history. This was the second book by historian Charles...
From The Seventeenth Century Lady on 13 Apr 2015

Review: THE TAPESTRY by Nancy Bilyeau

Ever since her Dominican priory was closed by order of Henry VIII, Joanna Stafford has tried to live a quiet life weaving tapestries in the small town of Dartford. Yet fate refuses to allow her respite....
From Writing the Renaissance on 18 Mar 2015

Whirlwind: The American Revolution and the War That Won It

Book Review: Whirlwind: The American Revolution and the War That Won It by John Ferling (New York: Bloomsbury Press, 2015) Whirlwind: The American Revolution and the War That Won It is John Ferling’s...

The Writer Assumes All Responsibility

For the week of July 13-17, The Junto is hosting “Graphic History: Sequential Art & History,” a roundtable examination of relationship between history and graphic novels. We will explore...
From The Junto on 13 Jul 2015

EMA Book Reviews: May 2015

The most recent EMA Book Reviews list — for May 2015 — is available here and under “Research.”
From Early Modern Architecture on 12 May 2015

St. Thomas More on How a Christian Responds to Suffering

In the Introduction to this edition of A Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation from Scepter Publishers, Gerard Wegemer comments that this English masterpiece of Thomas More is less well known than his...

Daigler on Revolutionary War Spies in Newport, 7 May

On Thursday, 7 May, Ken Daigler will speak about the stories from his book Spies, Patriots, and Traitors: American Intelligence During the Revolutionary War with the Newport Historical Society.Everyone...
From Boston 1775 on 2 May 2015

EMA Book Reviews: August 2015

The EMA Book Reviews list for August 2015 is available here and under “Research.”
From Early Modern Architecture on 17 Aug 2015

Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne du Maurier

When I finished listening to the audiobook version of Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne du Maurier, I was left sitting at my kitchen table in floods of tears. What a moving story! The first thing...
From The Seventeenth Century Lady on 29 Apr 2015

New Word on The Revolution’s Last Men from Don Hagist, 27 May

On Wednesday, 27 May, the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston will host a book talk by Don N. Hagist, author of The Revolution’s Last Men: The Soldiers Behind the Photographs. The...
From Boston 1775 on 19 May 2015

Book Review: Mark A. Noll on the Theological Crisis of the American Civil War

Author of The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, in this book Mark A. Noll explores the Christian response to the crisis of not just the War Between the States but of Southern chattel slavery in the nineteenth...

Book Review and Giveaway: “The Art of the Con” by Anthony M. Amore

This is certainly the summer for new publications on art crime – and the summer isn’t even over yet! When I learned that Anthony M. Amore wrote a new book called The Art of the Con, I...
From Alberti's Window on 11 Aug 2015

Review: Jessica Choppin Roney, Governed by a Spirit of Opposition

Historians often emphasize how "new" politics was in the early republic, and many have used voluntary associations as evidence of this. In Governed by a Spirit of Opposition, however, Jessica Choppin Roney...
From The Junto on 25 Jun 2015

The Origins of the American Revolution: A Roundtable

Today we begin a week-long round-table on the origins and causes of the American Revolution, in which Junto members explore their own idiosyncratic approaches to the question of origins, and the recent...
From The Junto on 10 Aug 2015

Meeting Arthur and Honor: The Lisle Letters

Arthur Plantagenet was a bastard son of Edward IV, acknowledged and raised at his father's Court. He was Elizabeth of York's half-brother and thus related to Henry VIII who appointed him as the King's...

Book Review: The Silencing by Kirsten Powers

I read Kirsten Powers's The Silencing: How the Left is Killing Free Speech because I was interested in what she would say about free speech on our university and college campuses. I have blogged about...

To Explain the Weinberg: The discovery of a Nobel Laureate’s view of the history of science

In my dim and distant youth, I was an ardent fan of twentieth-century physics and consumed a large quantity of popular books and articles (mostly New Scientist and Scientific American) on the subject as...
From The Renaissance Mathematicus on 19 Aug 2015

William Shakespeare: A Very Short Introduction by Stanley Wells

This month, Oxford University Press publishes William Shakespeare: A Very Short Introduction by one of the most esteemed living authors on Shakespeare, Stanley Wells. Wells, in addition to being one of...
From The Bardathon on 5 Apr 2015

Book Review: Competing Visions of Empire

Review: Abigail L. Swingen, Competing Visions of Empire: Labor, Slavery, and the Origins of the British Atlantic Empire (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2015). There have been some fantastic new...
From The Junto on 6 May 2015

Reviews of Revolutions without Borders

Earlier this month H-Net published Bryan Rindfleisch’s review of Revolutions without Borders: The Call to Liberty in the Atlantic World by Janet L. Polasky, which looks at the multiple revolutions...
From Boston 1775 on 13 Jul 2015

Stark: The Life and Wars of John Stark, French and Indian War Ranger, Revolutionary War General

Book Review:  Stark: The Life and Wars of John Stark, French and Indian War Ranger, Revolutionary War General by Richard Polhemus and John Polhemus (Black Dome Press, 2014). 2015 marks the 240th anniversary...

Saints and Beauty: Pope Benedict XVI's "Holy Men and Women"

Father Benedict, the former Pope Benedict XVI and Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, expressed the link between beauty and holiness often, for example, in this message to a gathering of Communion and Liberation...

"This Republic of Suffering": Death and the Civil War

This is a portmanteau review and I'm afraid it's a little mixed up in its combination, because I'm reviewing a television documentary and a book. I'm looking at the same subject via two different media...

Spies in Revolutionary Rhode Island

Book Review: Spies in Revolutionary Rhode Island by Christian M. McBurney. History Press, 2014. ISBN 978-1626197244, softcover, 158 pages, illustrated. The last few years have seen a surge of interest...

Revolutions Without Borders

R. R. Palmer's Age of Democratic Revolutions famously had no room in its two volumes for what many of us now recognise as the most revolutionary of them all—the one in Haiti between 1791 and 1804....
From The Junto on 11 Jun 2015

Review: REBEL QUEEN by Michelle Moran

Fictional accounts of India published in English usually take the perspective of a British transplant encountering a foreign culture for the first time: think E.M. Forster’s A PASSAGE TO INDIA or M....
From Writing the Renaissance on 10 Mar 2015

Ann Weisgarber's THE PROMISE, Now in Trade Paperback. Review.

A year ago, I published this review of Ann Weisgarber's luminous novel, THE PROMISE, released today in trade paperback from Skyhorse Publishing. Every word of this short novel rings true and resonates...
From Writing the Renaissance on 5 May 2015

“Ellis’s strategy of building his narrative around four exemplary men”

Back in July 2013 I discussed historian Joseph J. Ellis’s focus on, in his words, “the most prominent members of the political leadership during this formative phase” of the nation, as...
From Boston 1775 on 16 May 2015

Moonfleet.

It is usually the case that the book is always better than the movie, but having read the book, I can only hope that the movie is better than the publication. J.M. Falkner was certainly no historian, nor...
From A Woodsrunner's Diary on 3 Jun 2015

Guest Review: Keith Grant on Jonathan Den Hartog, “Patriotism and Piety”

[Today’s guest post is a book review from Keith Grant, a PhD candidate in history at the University of New Brunswick, Canada. He is also the co-editor of Borealia, a new group blog on early Canadian...
From The Junto on 17 Aug 2015

Book Review: A Trio of Works by St. Thomas More

Scepter Publishers combines three works by Thomas More in this volume (which I purchased for my study of More's works). From the publisher:In The Four Last Things, More prescribes frequent meditation on...

Teaching the Revolution.

Anthony Millevolte is professor for chemistry at the University of Wisconsin Colleges where he also teaches the history of science courses. When he was teaching an introductory course on the so-called...
From The Renaissance Mathematicus on 21 May 2015

Q&A: Abigail Swingen, Competing Visions of Empire

Abigail Swingen is Assistant Professor of History at Texas Tech University (Lubbock, TX).  She received her Ph.D. in History from the University of Chicago.  She specializes in the Early Modern...
From The Junto on 7 May 2015

Thomas Simes, Military Writer

When researching the Revolutionary War one is constantly keeping an eye out for primary source materials. Some of those sources are the very same books read by the people we study, including the wide range...

Q&A: Kathleen DuVal, Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the Revolution

Yesterday, Chris Minty reviewed Kathleen DuVal’s latest book, Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the Revolution. Today, we continue with an interview with DuVal, who is a Professor of History...
From The Junto on 28 Aug 2015

Book Review and Giveaway: “Hitler’s Art Thief”

I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to read an advance proof copy of Susan Ronald’s forthcoming book, Hitler’s Art Thief: Hildebrand Gurlitt, the Nazis and the Looting of Europe’s...
From Alberti's Window on 25 Aug 2015

Re-Writing the American Revolution: Kathleen DuVal’s Independence Lost

In this post, Christopher Minty reviews Kathleen DuVal's recently published book, "Independence Lost."
From The Junto on 27 Aug 2015

Belloc's Strengths and Weaknesses

There is much that Belloc gets wrong in his Characters of the Reformation--details like Henry VIII having syphilis and Anne Boleyn having an extra finger--but his analysis of politics and personalities...

Guest Post: Writing the Book Proposal

Craig W. Gill is the Editor-in-Chief and Assistant Director of the University Press of Mississippi. He has worked at the Press for more than 17 years and has served in publishing for almost 25 years. He...
From The Junto on 18 May 2015