The Early Modern Commons

Recent Book Reviews

Book reviews from the last 6 months.

“Mixing the Sacred Character, With That of the Statesman”: Review of Pulpit and Nation

According to Spencer McBride, "Americans began to think of themselves as members of a new [nation] in large part because their trusted spiritual leaders told them that they were."
From The Junto on 16 Mar 2017

Book review: Life in the Georgian Court by Catherine Curzon

Despite the title, this is a lively jaunt through ALL the royal courts of Europe, not just that of Great Britain, and is all the better for it – because she points up the intricate genealogical ties...
From Naomi Clifford on 7 Jan 2017

Review: The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

As I’m no longer bound by deadlines for my own work, I’ve been making progress on my list of books to read for fun. One of these was The Miniaturist, which was published in 2015 and widely...
From The Seventeenth Century Lady on 12 Apr 2017

Book review: Summer in the Shadow of Byron by Andrew McConnell Stott

I highly recommend this brilliant book about the two flawed unfortunates on the sidelines of Byron’s Italian sojourn. Both very much wanted to be closer to the man: John Polidori, his juvenile doctor,...
From Naomi Clifford on 7 Jan 2017

Review of Van Buskirk’s Standing in Their Own Light: African American Patriots in the American Revolution

Judith L. Van Buskirk, Standing in Their Own Light: African American Patriots in the American Revolution (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2017) 312 pp. Review by Rachel Engl In Standing in...
From Age of Revolutions on 22 May 2017

Guest Review: Thundersticks: Firearms and the Violent Transformation of Native America

David Silverman writes that Native Americans sought European guns to halt the ravages of colonization—but ended up transforming their world.
From The Junto on 3 Mar 2017

He fought for his mother

There are not many books about the Renaissance mathematician and astronomer Johannes Kepler in which he only plays a supporting role but this is the case in Ulinka Rublack’s The Astronomer and the...
From The Renaissance Mathematicus on 11 Jan 2017

Book Review: “The Art of Law: Three Centuries of Justice Depicted” (2017)

Stefan Huygebaert et al (eds.), The Art of Law: Three Centuries of Justice Depicted (Tielt: Lannoo, 2016), 205pp. ISBN9789401440417 RRP £20. This lavishly illustrated book is related to a recent...

Review: Viper Wine by Hermione Eyre

A few years ago, I went to a classical violin concert at the Wigmore Hall in London. The music selected was the kind you tend to get on Radio 3, slightly weird, postmodern, and lacking any discernible...
From The Seventeenth Century Lady on 29 Apr 2017

#VastEarlyAmerica(n) Girl Doll Books: Reflections of a Father and Historian

When Sara first pitched the idea of The Junto hosting a roundtable dedicated to children’s and young adult fiction focused on early America, I was excited. But unlike others, I was excited not because...
From The Junto on 7 Jun 2017

Bergman on Zilberstein’s A Temperate Empire

Last month James Bergman reviewed Anya Zilberstein’s A Temperate Empire: Making Climate Change in Early America, published in 2016 by Oxford University Press, for the H-Net.European settlers found...
From Boston 1775 on 10 May 2017

Reading about Rick Beyer’s Rivals unto Death

Rivals Unto Death: Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr is a retelling of the political rivalry that led to the most famous fatal duel in U.S. history. It comes from Rick Beyer, an author and filmmaker from...
From Boston 1775 on 20 Feb 2017

“Meditations on Archival Fragments”: Review of Dispossessed Lives

It should go without saying that the historical profession depends on archives. Near or far, we need those repositories to craft historical narratives about past worlds. There is also no shortage of books...
From The Junto on 26 Apr 2017

Review and Giveaway: THE DARK LADY'S MASK by Mary Sharratt

Once again, Mary Sharratt captivates readers with a compelling tale of an extraordinary woman carving a place for herself in a man's world. THE DARK LADY'S MASK (available in paperback April 11) fictionalizes...
From Writing the Renaissance on 7 Apr 2017

Review: The Devil on the Road by Robert Westall

The Devil on the Road by Robert Westall was published in 1977 and recommended by my husband. Apparently, according to my husband, was a title on a reading list at school and he read it back in the...
From The Seventeenth Century Lady on 19 Jun 2017

Book review: A Right Royal Scandal: Two Marriages that Changed History by Joanne Major and Sarah Murden

Sarah Murden and Joanne Major, authors of the much-praised All Things Georgian website, have once again used their formidable genealogical and investigative skills to conjure an amazing tale out of...
From Naomi Clifford on 7 Jan 2017

Looking at Ben’s Revolution

This spring brought us a new book from Nathaniel Philbrick, author of Bunker Hill and Valiant Ambition, and Wendell Minor, jacket designer for John Adams and 1776. Unlike those books, Ben’s...
From Boston 1775 on 14 Jun 2017

Book review: Body Snatchers: Digging up the Untold Stories of Britain’s Resurrection Men by Suzie Lenno

Suzie Lennox travelled far and wide in Scotland and England to investigate stories of bodysnatching and to document the unusual buildings or structures in graveyards to prevent it. This grisly business...
From Naomi Clifford on 7 Jan 2017

Books!

When I dropped out of academia (for the second time in my life) in the early 1990s, because of serious (mental) health problems, I throttled back my life-long interest in the history of science, giving...
From The Renaissance Mathematicus on 25 Jan 2017

Review: Lady on the Coin by Margaret Campbell Barnes

Lady on the Coin, written by Margaret Campbell Barnes and first published in the early 1960s, follows the life of Frances Stuart, the woman who was the model for Britannia. Frances Stuart was related to...
From The Seventeenth Century Lady on 12 May 2017

Australian Book Review (ABR) Fellowships and Literary Prizes – Call For Applications

The Australian Book Review is seeking applications/entries for the following Fellowships and Literary Prizes: 2017 ABR RAFT Fellowship ($7,500) – closes 10 March 2017 ABR Eucalypt Fellowship ($7,500)...
From ANZAMEMS Inc on 21 Feb 2017

In Bed with the Georgians by Mike Rendell

Well, this is a romp — a right rollicking ride through the 18th-century world of courtesans, harlots, bigamists, rapists, pimps, brothels, bagnios, profligates and narcissists. Along the way we meet...
From Naomi Clifford on 20 Mar 2017

Review: Sweet Alice by Leelou Cervant

Being as I’m reading absolutely anything set in the seventeenth century at the moment, it’s no surprise that includes a bit of erotica, as Sweet Alice by Leelou Cervant is. I don’t mind...
From The Seventeenth Century Lady on 21 May 2017

EMA Book Reviews: June 2017

The most recent EMA list of open-access book reviews is available here and under “Research.”
From Early Modern Architecture on 20 Jun 2017

Review: Tulip Fever by Deborah Moggach

Sophia is the beautiful and much-younger wife of Cornelius, a wealthy merchant in Amsterdam. Her husband is quite likeable and rather amusing, and she is content enough with the life she leads with him....
From The Seventeenth Century Lady on 24 Feb 2017

Perpetuating the myths

Since the re-emergence of science in Europe in the High Middle Ages down to the present the relationship between science and religion has been a very complex and multifaceted one that cannot be reduced...
From The Renaissance Mathematicus on 17 May 2017

Book review: An Infamous Mistress by Joanne Major and Sarah Murden

This is the most complete biography of a figure who is largely forgotten in histories of the late 18th century. Women’s voices, of course, are seldom quoted in conventional histories, and courtesans,...
From Naomi Clifford on 7 Jan 2017

Review: The American Revolution Reborn

Christopher Minty reviews "The American Revolution Reborn."
From The Junto on 6 Mar 2017

Reflection: The Slow Professor

At the end of the fall semester, my colleague gave me a copy of Maggie Berg and Barbara K. Seeber's book The Slow Professor.  I began to read it, but life got in the way, of course. (As you may recall,...
From The Seacoast of Bohemia on 28 May 2017

Colonial Relations: The Douglas-Connolly Family and the Nineteenth-Century Imperial World: A Review

Ann Little Adele Perry, Colonial Relations: The Douglas-Connolly Family and the Nineteenth-Century Imperial World (Cambridge University Press, 2015), Critical Perspectives on Empire series. If you’re...
From Borealia on 5 Jun 2017

“A good bit of adventure, audacity, and downright Yankee ingenuity”

When I was in Williamsburg last week, George Wildrick kindly alerted me to the fact that Muzzleloader magazine had reviewed The Road to Concord in its September-October 2016 issue.So I really must share...
From Boston 1775 on 5 Apr 2017

Review: Spain: The Centre of the World 1519-1682 by Robert Goodwin

Being as I don’t know as much as I’d like about the history of early modern Spain, I’m currently trying to rectify this at present. Enter Robert Goodwin’s book, Spain: The Centre...
From The Seventeenth Century Lady on 15 May 2017

EMA Book Reviews: March 2017

The most recent EMA list of open-access book reviews is available here and under “Research.”
From Early Modern Architecture on 7 Mar 2017

Guest Post: Review of An Aqueous Territory

Today’s review is by James Hill, who received his Ph.D. from the College of William & Mary in 2016 and is currently an Assistant Professor of History at the University of the Bahamas. He has...
From The Junto on 27 Jun 2017

Book review: Marie Antoinette’s Confidante: The Rise and Fall of the Princesse de Lamballe by Geri Walton

This biography of the sweet-natured, loyal and tragic Princess Marie Louise of Savoy, who on marriage to Louis Alexandre de Bourbon-Penthièvre became the Princesse de Lamballe, is a welcome addition...
From Naomi Clifford on 7 Jan 2017

Alchemy related book review – Dragon’s blood and Willow Bark by Toni Mount

So I thought I’d do a partial book review, covering my area of expertise. The victim this time is Toni Mount. Don’t worry, she is far superior to Jonathan Hughes, and her book is worth having...
From distillatio on 6 Mar 2017

The Greedy Queen: historic recipes recreated at York Mansion House

We are thrilled to be able to welcome Danielle Bond, Communications officer, for City of York Council to our blog and Dr Annie Gray, food historian and lecturer who has been recreating historic recipes...
From All Things Georgian on 6 Jun 2017

Guest Review: Never Caught: Ona Judge, the Washingtons, and the Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave

Guest poster Shana L. Haines reviews Erica Dunbar's new book, "Never Caught: Ona Judge, the Washingtons, and the Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave."
From The Junto on 17 Feb 2017

Review: Arbella Stuart – The Uncrowned Queen by Jill Armitage

Arbella Stuart: The Uncrowned Queen by Jill Armitage, published by Amberley Publishing in 2017, (the title on Goodreads is Arbella Stuart: England’s Almost Queen) takes readers back to the reign...
From The Seventeenth Century Lady on 1 Jun 2017

Manufacturing Bodies: A Review of Slavery at Sea

Writing a book review a day after Karin Wulf’s entertaining analysis of what makes for a good review might be hubris at its worst, or simply bad timing. And, while I will never have the expertise,...
From The Junto on 10 Jan 2017

Revolutionary Review: Armitage’s Civil Wars: A History in Ideas

Book Review Armitage, David. Civil Wars: A History in Ideas. New York: Knopf, 2017. 349 pp. Reviewed by Bryan Banks In his Reflections on Revolution in France, Edmund Burke, the Irish Whig and...
From Age of Revolutions on 10 Apr 2017

Review: Silence by Shūsaku Endō

Shūsaku Endō (1923-1996) was a Japanese writer famed for incorporating his Roman Catholicism as a theme into his work. Silence, originally published in 1966 is a novel set in the 1630s and...
From The Seventeenth Century Lady on 22 Feb 2017

The J.A.R. Starting the Year Off Big

Over at the Journal of the American Revolution, there have been several articles of interest this year already. And not just because they arose out of conversations involving me.First, the organization...
From Boston 1775 on 11 Jan 2017