I am sure that the educated and informed readers of the Anxious Bench are making their way through summer reading lists. As for me, I have been mostly reading academic stuff. Here is my list:
Peter Novick, That Noble Dream: The ‘Objectivity Question’ and the American Historical Profession. I have not read this book since graduate school and I am getting much more out of it now than I did back then. I have long been interested in the relationship between the historian as “activist” and the historian in pursuit of objectivity. This history of the historical profession has reminded me that these two approaches to the study of the past have always been in tension. Novick’s book has been particularly useful as I try to make sense of the History News Network’s recent “Least Credible History Book” poll.
John Smolenski, Friends and Strangers: The Making of a Creole Culture in Colonial Pennsylvania. Smolenski’s work is heavy on the anthropology, but it has quickly become the definitive work on the founding of Pennsylvania. I hope to do an interview with John soon at The Way of Improvement Leads Home.Os Guinness, A Free People’s Suicide: Sustainable Freedom and the American Future. Check out my short review at the Patheos Book Club blog.
James Banner, Being a Historian: An Introduction to the Professional World of History. I just started this one, but I like what I am reading so far. Stay tuned.
Gregg Frazer, The Religious Beliefs of the America’s Founders. Frazer argues that the founders were neither Christians nor deists. They were “theistic rationalists.”
George C. Rable, God’s Almost Chosen People: A Religious History of the American Civil War. I hope to get to this landmark work before the summer’s end.
So what books are you reading? Please share!