New Books Network

Joshua Nall, “News from Mars: Mass Media and the Forging of a New Astronomy, 1860-1910” (U Pittsburgh Press, 2019)
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re hearing an awful lot about the fraught relationship between science and media. In his book, News from Mars: Mass Media and the Forging of a New Astronomy, 1860-1910 (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2019), historian of science Joshua Nall shows us that a... Read More
Samuel Morris Brown, “Joseph Smith’s Translation: The Words and Worlds of Early Mormonism” (Oxford UP, 2020)
Mormonism’s founder, Joseph Smith, claimed to have translated ancient scriptures. He dictated an American Bible from metal plates reportedly buried by ancient Jews in a nearby hill, and produced an Egyptian “Book of Abraham” derived from funerary papyri he extracted from a collection of mummies he bought from a traveling... Read More
Nathan Spannaus, “Preserving Islamic Tradition: Abu Nasr Qursawi and the Beginnings of Modern Reformism” (Oxford UP, 2019)
What were some of the major transformations taking place for Muslim communities in the Russian Empire of the eighteenth century? How did the introduction of a state-backed structure for Muslim religious institutions alter Islamic religious authority in the empire? And who exactly was Abu Nasr Qursawi and what was his... Read More
Kim Adrian, “Dear Knausgaard: Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle” (Fiction Advocate, 2020)
In 2009, a novel was released in Norway with a fairly simple premise; the author would simply write about himself, his life and his attempts to write. The autobiographical novel would be the first in a 6-volume series that would eventually total over 3,500 pages written in just 3 short... Read More
A Very Square Peg: A Podcast Series about Polymath Robert Eisler. Episode 9: Vanity of Vanities
In this episode, I look at Eisler’s last days in England, where he found that the Oxford readership he had been promised before being sent to Dachau was taken by someone else, a paper shortage had put a stop to academic publishing, and that foreign Jews without visas were being... Read More
Michael Rectenwald, “Beyond Woke” (New English Review Press, 2020)
A few short years ago, Michael Rectenwald was a Marxist professor at NYU, pursuing his career and contemplating becoming a Trotskyist, when the political climate on campus – victimology, cancel-culture, no-platforming, and political correctness run-amok – began to bother him. He responded by creating a Twitter handle, @AntiPCNYUProf (now @TheAntiPCProf),... Read More
Nicholas B. Miller, “John Millar and the Scottish Enlightenment: Family Life and World History” (Voltaire Foundation, 2017)
During the long eighteenth century the moral and socio-political dimensions of family life and gender were hotly debated by intellectuals across Europe. John Millar, a Scottish law professor and philosopher, was a pioneer in making gendered and familial practice a critical parameter of cultural difference. His work was widely disseminated... Read More
Melissa J. Wilde, “Birth Control Battles: How Race and Class Divided American Religion” (U California Press, 2020)
Although it has largely been erased from the collective memory of American Christianity, the debate over eugenics was a major factor in the history of 20th-century religious movements, with many churches actively supporting the pseudoscience as a component of the Social Gospel. In Birth Control Battles: How Race and Class... Read More
Khurram Hussain, “Islam as Critique: Sayyid Ahmad Khan and the Challenge of Modernity” (Bloomsbury Academic, 2019)
Delighting in Khurram Hussain’s consistently sparkling prose is reason enough to read his new book Islam as Critique: Sayyid Ahmad Khan and the Challenge of Modernity (Bloomsbury Academic, 2019). But there is much more to this splendid book, framed around the profoundly consequential conceptual and political question of can Muslims... Read More