A well-researched study of the Puritans that will find most of its readers within academia.

THE PURITANS

A TRANSATLANTIC HISTORY

A reexamination of Puritanism spanning the British Isles and American Colonies.

Hall (Emeritus, Religious History/Harvard Divinity School; A Reforming People: Puritanism and the Transformation of Public Life in New England, 2011, etc.) sets out to explore the origins, triumphs, and defeats of the Puritan movement as it was manifested in England, Scotland, America, and, to a lesser extent, Ireland. The author also aims to reclaim Puritanism from the unseemly stereotype it acquired as the liberalizing church in England and America distanced itself from this ancestor in the 19th century. The story of Puritanism begins, necessarily, with the story of the Reformation and, most especially, with that of the “Reformed Movement” of Calvinism, which migrated north into England and Scotland in the 1500s. Hall begins with this period and explains how a significant portion of the church, having hoped for thorough reform, became increasingly dissatisfied with the policies of Elizabeth I and then James I, both of whom they felt were too aligned with Catholic practice and doctrine. The Puritan movement that arose from these disputes was never entirely unified, but it would act as a defining force in British politics and church polity for decades, culminating in the execution of Charles I. Parallel to this history lesson, Hall delves into the lives of everyday Puritans and how the movement affected the worship of the average church. This includes the “practical divinity,” whereby Reformed theology was translated into the quest for personal salvation, and the “reformation of manners,” the push for holy living for which Puritanism is often remembered and, indeed, caricatured. As he did in A Reforming People, Hall provides an in-depth and erudite study that scholars will find quite useful; however, average readers will be lost in the details and academic tone. Ultimately, the author makes readers reconsider the character and role of the Puritan movement.

A well-researched study of the Puritans that will find most of its readers within academia.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-691-15139-7

Page Count: 520

Publisher: Princeton Univ.

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

Did you like this book?

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Did you like this book?

more