From Yale University Press, a new intellectual history of America after the Revolution, American Enlightenments: Pursuing Happiness in the Age of Reason, by Caroline Winterer (Stanford). The publisher’s description follows:
A provocative reassessment of the concept of an American golden age of European-born reason and intellectual curiosity in the years following the Revolutionary War:
The accepted myth of the “American Enlightenment” suggests that the rejection of monarchy and establishment of a new republic in the United States in the eighteenth century was the realization of utopian philosophies born in the intellectual salons of Europe and radiating outward to the New World. In this revelatory work, Stanford historian Caroline Winterer argues that a national mythology of a unitary, patriotic era of enlightenment in America was created during the Cold War to act as a shield against the threat of totalitarianism, and that Americans followed many paths toward political, religious, scientific, and artistic enlightenment in the 1700s that were influenced by European models in more complex ways than commonly thought. Winterer’s book strips away our modern inventions of the American national past, exploring which of our ideas and ideals are truly rooted in the eighteenth century and which are inventions and mystifications of more recent times.
This month, John Wiley & Sons releases Faith and Freedom by Teresa Forcades, a Benedictine nun and “one of Europe’s leading radical thinkers.” The publisher’s description follows:
Teresa Forcades, Spanish Benedictine nun, theologian, physician and political activist, is one of Europe’s leading radical thinkers. Marrying her Catholic faith with a passion for social justice, she came to prominence for her eloquent condemnation of the abuses of some of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies. She has gone on to found a leading Catalonian anti-capitalist independence movement and is one of the leading voices in the world today against the injustices of capitalism and the patriarchy of modern society and of her own church.
In Faith and Freedom, her first book written in English, she skilfully weaves together her personal experiences with a reflection on morality, religion and politics to give a trenchant account of how the Christian faith can be a dynamic force for radical change. Placing herself in a powerful tradition of Catholic social doctrine and Liberation Theology, she applies her perspective to the issues most precious to her: freedom and love, social justice and political engagement, public health, feminism, faith and forgiveness.
Structured around the five canonical hours that give its peculiar rhythm to the monastic day, this book is a thoughtful and bold polemic against the exploitation and injustice of the status quo. Its call for liberty, love and justice will resonate with anyone disaffected with a savage and destructive political and economic system that marginalises and murders the poor and undermines the very fabric of social life.