The Early Modern Commons

Recent Book Reviews

Book reviews from the last 6 months.

The Readers called Methodists: A Review of Pulpit, Press, and Politics

Todd Webb Scott McLaren, Pulpit, Press, and Politics: Methodists and the Market for Books in Upper Canada (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2019) By the early 1860s, Methodism had become the largest...
From Borealia on 14 Sep 2020

Book Review: ‘The Bitter Trade’ by Piers Alexander

I came across a Facebook post by historical fiction author Kate Quinn recently in which she wrote: ‘sometimes we come across books at the wrong time. We’re in the wrong mood for a particular...
From The Seventeenth Century Lady on 15 Aug 2020

Book Review: ‘Mistresses’ by Linda Porter

Mistresses: Sex and Scandal at the Court of Charles II, written by historian Linda Porter and published by Picador in 2020, is the second book on the Stuarts of the seventeenth century by Dr Porter, the...
From The Seventeenth Century Lady on 9 Oct 2020

Ali Smith, ‘Summer’ (Hamish Hamilton)

In one of Ali Smith’s trademark dizzying verbal association games, an unnamed character in Summer explains that a load-bearing stone is often called a ‘summer’; at which another character,...
From The Bardathon on 16 Aug 2020

Book Review: The Journal of a Georgian Gentleman, by Mike Rendell

The Journal of a Georgian Gentleman gives many fascinating insights into eighteenth century England and Austen's world.
From Jane Austen's World on 27 Sep 2020

A Different Royal Society

What do the Penny Post, the Great Exhibition of 1851, the Albert & Victoria Museum, GCSEs, the iMac and the art works on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square all have in common? Their origins are...
From The Renaissance Mathematicus on 16 Sep 2020

Book Review: ‘How to Use Your Enemies’ by Baltasar Graciàn

I bought this book a few years ago when Penguin started publishing these small, and very affordable, black books. I bought several, including this book by a Spanish priest and author, Baltasar Graciàn,...
From The Seventeenth Century Lady on 27 Aug 2020

Another Negative Review

For those, who don’t always read the comments, Renaissance Mathematicus friend and sometime guest blogger, Chris Graney, who is also a leading expert on the arguments pro and contra heliocentricity...
From The Renaissance Mathematicus on 7 Jun 2020

You can con all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can’t con all of the people all of the time. However, you can con enough people long enough to cause a financial crisis.

  The name Isaac Newton evokes for most people the discovery of the law of gravity[1] and if they remember enough of their school physics his three laws of motion. For those with some knowledge of...
From The Renaissance Mathematicus on 11 Nov 2020

The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner: A Review by Vic Sanborn and an Audio Book Giveaway

Last summer I received an uncorrected manuscript of The Jane Austen Society to read with a request for feedback and any thoughts I had before a final printing. (I assume many other readers also received...
From Jane Austen's World on 14 Jun 2020

Book Review by Emily K. Michael: Sherwood Smith’s Danse de la Folie

Lovers of Austen novels will find much delight in Sherwood Smith’s Danse de la Folie. With more wit than romance, this novel introduces two couples, mapping their relationships onto the quadrille....
From Jane Austen's World on 6 Jun 2020

Atlas of Boston History Wins Historic New England Book Prize

Historic New England (formerly the Society for the Protection of New England Antiquities) has awarded its 2020 Book Prize to The Atlas of Boston History, edited by Nancy S. Seasholes and written by her...
From Boston 1775 on 15 Nov 2020

A Critical Review in The Critical Review

In 1764 James Otis, Jr., published The Rights of the British Colonies Asserted and Proved, which based the campaign against Parliament’s new colonial revenue laws on the ideas of natural rights and...
From Boston 1775 on 16 Nov 2020

A book or many books?

If you count mathematics as one of the sciences, and I do, then without any doubt the most often reissued science textbook of all time has to be The Elements of Euclid. As B L van der Waerden wrote...
From The Renaissance Mathematicus on 14 Oct 2020

Our medieval technological inheritance.

“Positively medieval” has become a universal put down for everything considered backward, ignorant, dirty, primitive, bigoted, intolerant or just simply stupid in our times. This is based on...
From The Renaissance Mathematicus on 22 Jul 2020

Review: THE GIANT by Laura Morelli

One of the greatest challenges in writing a historical novel about a figure as colossal as Michelangelo is finding the proper angle from which to view him, a perspective that will provide a dramatic narrative...
From Writing the Renaissance on 30 Jun 2020

A scientific Dutchman

For many decades the popular narrative version of the scientific revolution started in Poland/Germany with Copernicus moving on through Tycho in Denmark, Kepler in Germany/Austria, Galileo et al in Northern...
From The Renaissance Mathematicus on 20 Aug 2020

A London View of the Electoral College Controversy

At the London School of Economics blog, Kyle Scott reviewed Prof. Alexander Keyssar’s new book, Why Do We Still Have the Electoral College?Dr. Scott wrote: Throughout the book, Keyssar draws upon...
From Boston 1775 on 7 Nov 2020

We just don’t know!

Matthew Cobb is one of those people that you can’t help but admire but also secretly hate just a little bit for being so awesome. He is professor for zoology at the University of Manchester with...
From The Renaissance Mathematicus on 24 Jun 2020