What Are You Reading This Summer?

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!

  • E. Turner

    Moroland, the History of Uncle Sam and the Moros, 1899-1920. Helpful to understand the context of conflict in the southern Philippines. Seems that most of the contacts that the tribes of that region had with America were with Indian fighters or Civil War vets. Not a good start.

  • Clay Knick

    I’m reading Guinness’ new book now. I took Carter’s new novel on Lincoln’s impeachment with me on vacation and it was just okay. I really wanted to like it more than I did. I’m starting “Landscape Turned Red” very soon. Plus some others

    • John Fea

      Let me know what you think of Guinness, Clay. I was generous in my review, but I think he said much of the same thing in *The American Hour* 20 years ago. Having said that, I am largely in sympathy with his argument.

  • https://twitter.com/#!/ThomasSKidd Thomas Kidd

    for my recent vacation I read James Horn’s A Land As God Made It: Jamestown and the Birth of America, and Madeleine Albright’s memoir Prague Winter

  • Christopher Eads

    I am reading Johnson and Wilentz’s _Kingdom_of_Mathias_; Rosenberg’s _Cholera_Years_; back issues of “Stethoscope and Virginia Medical Gazette” (1850-1865); and working my way through the Old Testament

    • John Fea

      Kingdom of Mathias is another book I need to go back to. I used to assign it to my classes when I taught at Valpo. Thanks for the post, Christopher.

  • Jeremy McLellan

    As far as history, I read Faust’s “This Republic of Suffering” and re-read Stout’s “Upon the Altar of the Nation” since Hauerwas’s new book uses it so much. I’m going through Foner’s “Reconstruction” a chapter at a time since Ta-Nehesi Coates is using it in his “effete liberal book club” over at The Atlantic.

    Bunch of theology ones too if you’re interested, but those are the history ones.

    • John Fea

      Neo-Anabaptists love Upon the Altar of the Nation.

  • http://www.derrickjeter.com Derrick G. Jeter

    I’m currently reading Thomas Kidd’s “Patrick Henry: First Among Patriots” and Thomas Fleming’s “Liberty Tavern” (novel) and “What America Was Really Like in 1776.”

  • Tim Beirne

    Andrew R. Murphy, Conscience and Community: Revisiting Toleration and Religious Dissent in Early Modern England and America Ross Douthat, Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics Evan Haefeli, New Netherland and the Dutch Origins of American Religious Liberty Richard White, Railroaded

    • John Fea

      That’s an impressive list, Tim. I have yet to read Haefeli’s book, but it is on my list. It looks like you are focusing on religious freedom/toleration this summer!


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