The Early Modern Commons

Recent Posts: Book Reviews

Book reviews from the last six months.

Newman's Spiritual Direction

Like Father Stanley Jaki's study of Newman's correspondence with prospective converts (Newman to Converts: An Existential Ecclesiology) Peter C. Wilcox's book on Newman as a Spiritual Director during his...

Complete Medical Histories from the Founders

Jeanne E. Abrams’s Revolutionary Medicine: The Founding Fathers and Mothers in Sickness and in Health came out from New York University Press in 2013. Here are an H-Net review, a C-SPAN video, and a...
From Boston 1775 24 Dec 2014

The Black Settlers of Nova Scotia

I admit that this book cover was what caught my eye first. There have been several studies of black Loyalists in recent years, led by Cassandra Pybus’s Epic Journeys of Freedom. Black Loyalists: Southern...
From Boston 1775 30 Dec 2014

Stormbird – Conn Iggulden

‘King Henry V – the great Lion of England – is long dead. In 1437, after years of regency, the pious and gentle Henry VI, the Lamb, comes of age and accedes to the English throne. His...
From Madame Guillotine 1 Dec 2014

Early New England’s Blotter

Anthony Vaver’s Early American Crime blog offers one of the liveliest landscapes of life in colonial and federal America. It tells stories of burglary, murder, counterfeiting, and other crimes. Earlier...
From Boston 1775 23 Dec 2014

Nick Bunker’s Sharp Edges of Empire

After so much reading about the approach of the Revolution in New England, I’m always pleased to find books that give me a new perspective on the major events of those years. Sometimes that perspective...
From Boston 1775 20 Dec 2014

Retelling a story – this time with all the facts

Before 1995 probably only a handful of people interested in the history of navigation had ever heard of the English clockmaker John Harrison and the role he played in the history of attempts to find a...

Book Review: Travail féminin: Retour à l’ordre! L’offensive contre le travail des femmes durant la crise économique des années 1930 [Women’s work: Back to order! The offensive against women’s work during the economic crisis of the 1930s] by Céline Schoeni

This recent book review by Carmen Sarasua will be of interest to everyone researching gender and work. You can read the full review online at Feminist Economics. The book deals with changing female labour-market...

Edward Short on Ian Ker on Cardinal Newman on Vatican II

I purchased my copy of this book from OUP at Eighth Day Books this week--and had the pleasure of meeting an old acquaintance who promptly placed a copy of my book on his pile of purchases. I signed it...

Between Reluctance and Revolution

In From Resistance to Revolution Pauline Maier portrayed American Whigs as gradually becoming disenchanted with higher and higher levels of British government until in late 1775 or early 1776 they gave...
From Boston 1775 22 Dec 2014

Book Reviews

I’ve reviewed a couple of new history books for The History Vault: “A Million Years in a Day” by Greg Jenner – ‘An excellent debut from an exciting new author’ “Deus...
From Restoration London 18 Jan 2015

First Book of 2015 Read

When I visited my mother on Friday, I found that her parish had delivered her this book--it's the next selection in their parish reading program. I asked her if I could take it home and read it. She said...

Revolution References

The Journal of the American Revolution is running another weeklong series of questions for its contributors, including me. Monday’s question was “Which American Revolution book do you refer to most...
From Boston 1775 18 Dec 2014

Best Reads of 2014

Time for me to choose the best of the nearly thirty novels I read for pleasure in 2014. Many wonderful novels passed through my hands this year (see sidebar for the complete list); choosing the top eight...
From Writing the Renaissance 30 Dec 2014

What Did Bostonians Start a Revolution for?

In An Empire on the Edge: How Britain Came to Fight America, Nick Bunker posits a provocative parallel for Massachusetts in 1773, during the lead-up to the Tea Party: “Perhaps the closest equivalent...
From Boston 1775 22 Dec 2014

Editing the “Compulsively Circumspect” Thomas Hutchinson

This year the Colonial Society of Massachusetts published the first volume of its Correspondence of Thomas Hutchinson series, a project decades in the making. That makes a valuable and widely discussed...
From Boston 1775 26 Dec 2014

Review and Giveaway: RODIN'S LOVER by Heather Webb

Written with a passion and conviction worthy of the sculptor herself, Heather Webb's new novel RODIN'S LOVER (Plume, January 2015) explores the tumultuous life, troubled psyche, and splendid achievements...
From Writing the Renaissance 23 Jan 2015

An Empire on the Edge on the T.V.

On Sunday, 7 December, C-SPAN 2 will air a talk by Nick Bunker, author of An Empire on the Edge: How Britain Came to Fight America, at the New-York Historical Society in October. An Empire on the Edge focuses...
From Boston 1775 6 Dec 2014

Just Desserts in a New Children’s Book?

A picture book to be published next month takes readers through three centuries of history following a simple recipe for blackberry fool, but it has depths that some people have found troubling. The book...
From Boston 1775 28 Dec 2014

Review: VANESSA AND HER SISTER by Priya Parmar

You see, Nessa and I are more than just sisters. We are different--exceptional. So writes Virginia Woolf to a friend in Priya Parmar's captivating new novel, VANESSA AND HER SISTER (Ballantine, 2014)....

Review: Kyle T. Bulthuis, Four Steeples over the City Streets

Jonathan Wilson reviews Kyle T. Bulthuis, 'Four Steeples over the City Streets: Religion and Society in New York’s Early Republic Congregations.'
From The Junto 11 Dec 2014

A War of Flowers – Jane Thynne

I’ve already reviewed the first two brilliant books in Jane Thynne’s Clara Vine series and had to come back and let you all know how much I absolutely loved A War of Flowers, the third instalment in...
From Madame Guillotine 14 Jan 2015

Reading the Field from a Book: Some Thoughts on Eric Nelson’s The Royalist Revolution

Michael D. Hattem looks at Eric Nelson's book, "The Royalist Revolution," for what it says about the state of American Revolution political studies.
From The Junto 12 Jan 2015

The Latest

Back in September, my ears perked up at this History News Network article, “Why Historians Can’t Afford to Ignore Gossip.” As a supporter of unabashed gossip, I found the history of that term interesting:The...
From Boston 1775 25 Dec 2014

For Fear of an Elective King: George Washington and the Presidential Title Controversy of 1789

Book Review: For Fear of an Elective King: George Washington and the Presidential Title Controversy of 1789 by Kathleen Bartoloni-Tuazon (Cornell University Press, 2014) The debate that erupted in the...

I Only Read This Book for the Relatable Past

You might think that Thomas A. Foster’s Sex and the Founding Fathers is about the sexual behavior of the men who led the American Revolution and the creation of the federal government. But take a look...
From Boston 1775 27 Dec 2014

Reviewing Digital History

"Dive in, pilot projects, and do digital work in small batches." Sara Georgini chats with Jeff McClurken of the Journal of American History about getting started in digital history and the changing scope...
From The Junto 20 Jan 2015

Longman-History Today Book of the Year 2015 Shortlist

Jessie Childs' God's Traitors made the shortlist:God's Traitors: Terror and Faith in Elizabethan EnglandJessie Childs (The Bodley Head)The Whispers of Cities: Information Flows in Istanbul, London &...

Book Review: Many Kinds of Silence

Second book of 2015! This historical novel imagines what William Shakespeare might have been up to during those lost years in the 1580's. Suspenseful tension makes this a real page turner, or screen turner...

Behind Gingerbread for Liberty!

Gingerbread for Liberty!: How a German Baker Helped Win the American Revolution is a picture book due to be released next month. Author Mara Rockliff tells the story of the Philadelphia baker Christopher...
From Boston 1775 5 Jan 2015

Renegade Revolutionary: The Life of Charles Lee

Book Review: Renegade Revolutionary: The Life of Charles Lee by Phillip Pappas (New York University Press, 2014). Prior to 2013, there had not been a major biography of Charles Lee since 1968. Then, within...

Top Honors from the Journal of the American Revolution

The Journal of the American Revolution just announced its 2014 Book of the Year Award. The winning title is Dangerous Guests: Enemy Captives and Revolutionary Communities During the War for Independence,...
From Boston 1775 20 Jan 2015

Christianity at the Crossroads (16th-and-17th-centuries)

Hi folks! Some of you know how poor my eyesight is, and as a result of this problem, I’ve taken to listening to audiobooks through Audible. Now, when I’m doing the washing-up, the laundry,...