New Books Network

Ting Zhang, “Circulating the Code: Print Media and Legal Knowledge in Qing China” (U Washington Press, 2020)
How could a peasant in Shandong in the Qing dynasty come to know enough about a specific law that he felt confident enough to kill his own wife and his lover’s husband and think that he could get away with it? As Ting Zhang’s new book, Circulating the Code: Print... Read More
Naomi Appleton, “Many Buddhas, One Buddha: A Study and Translation of Avadānaśataka 1-40” (Equinox, 2020)
Naomi Appleton‘s new book Many Buddhas, One Buddha: A Study and Translation of Avadānaśataka 1-40 (Equinox Publishing, 2020) introduces a significant section of the important early Indian Buddhist text known as the Avadānaśataka, or “One Hundred Stories”, and explores some of its perspectives on buddhahood. This text, composed in Sanskrit... Read More
R. R. Reno, “Return of the Strong Gods: Nationalism, Populism and the Future of the West” (Gateway Editions, 2019)
One of America’s leading intellectuals has written the book which analyzes and explains the current discontents and malcontents of the contemporary West. After the staggering slaughter of back-to-back world wars, Western elites embraced the ideal of the “open society.” The goal being: By liberating ourselves from the old attachments to nation, clan,... Read More
Francis J. Beckwith, “Never Doubt Thomas: The Catholic Aquinas as Evangelical and Protestant” (Baylor UP, 2019)
Should you care how Protestant theologians and philosophers view a man generally regarded as of interest primarily to Catholics and as a pillar of Catholic thinking? Absolutely. Why? Because much of what has made our modern world in terms of law, philosophy and ethics comes from Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274). How... Read More
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