A Transatlantic History
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A panoramic new history of Puritanism in England, Scotland, and New England This book is a sweeping transatlantic history of Puritanism from its emergence out of the religious tumult of Elizabethan England to its founding role in the story of America. Shedding critical new light on the diverse forms of Puritan belief and practice in England, Scotland, and New England, David Hall provides a multifaceted account of a cultural movement that judged the Protestant reforms of Elizabeth's reign to be unfinished. Hall's vivid and wide-ranging narrative describes the movement's deeply ambiguous triumph under Oliver Cromwell, its political demise with the Restoration of the English monarchy in 1660, and its perilous migration across the Atlantic to establish a "perfect reformation" in the New World. A breathtaking work of scholarship by an eminent historian, The Puritans examines the tribulations and doctrinal dilemmas that led to the fragmentation and eventual decline of Puritanism. It presents a compelling portrait of a religious and political movement that was divided virtually from the start. In England, some wanted to dismantle the Church of England entirely and others were more cautious, while Puritans in Scotland were divided between those willing to work with a troublesome king and others insisting on the independence of the state church. This monumental book traces how Puritanism was a catalyst for profound cultural changes in the early modern Atlantic world, opening the door for other dissenter groups such as the Baptists and the Quakers, and leaving its enduring mark on what counted as true religion in America.
"[The Puritans] guides us steadily, lucidly and authoritatively across a huge landscape of place and time."---Blair Worden, Literary Review "There is a retrospective flavour to the book, and something of an elegiac flavour too, particularly in its closing chapters, as it traces the long slow decay of the Puritan tradition."---Arnold Hunt, Times Literary Supplement "The beauty of it all is that Hall maintains a careful balance between bone-dry dogmas and scholarly wrangling on the one hand and his sympathetic attention to the lived religion of the common people on the other. . . . A 'must read' for anyone interested in this fascinating period."---Reiner Smolinski, ALH Online Review "This book engages deeply with religious politics and theology, serving as a fitting companion to Diarmaid MacCulloch's more broadly conceived The Reformation: A History (2003)."---Carla Gardina Pestana, History Today "Hall provides an in-depth and erudite study that scholars will find quite useful . . . . A well-researched study of the Puritans."---Kirkus Reviews, "Mr. Hall's magisterial work provides a ground-breaking international history of this controversial religious movement as it emerged in the Old World and evolved to shape the New. . . . His voluminous endnotes compress many decades of wide reading into what will become one of the definitive histories of its subject."---Crawford Gribben, Wall Street Journal