Review: RoseAnn Benson, ALEXANDER CAMPBELL AND JOSEPH SMITH

Historians of early Mormonism have long noted the connection between Joseph Smith and a contemporary restorationist, Alexander Campbell. Both lived in antebellum America, both sought to restore a primitive form of Christianity, and both based their religion on (what they believed to be) a literalistic interpretation of the Bible. And unlike other theological figures sometimes…

Interview on Contemporary Mormonism

For those interested, I was interviewed by William Black for the website “Meaning of Life.” The discussion touched on modern Mormonism, the transition of LDS leadership, and other topics related to the modern Mormon tradition. You can find their website here, and I’ve embedded the video below.

Review: James Lewis, THE BURR CONSPIRACY

The Broadway musical Hamilton did a lot for the protagonist Alexander Hamilton, but little for his nemesis Aaron Burr. Despite the valiant effort of historians like Nancy Isenberg, the victor of the 1804 duel was now seen as the villain of one of America’s greatest rivalries. But what’s fascinating is that one of the most intriguing…

Classes and Syllabi, Spring 2018

Things have been quiet around here as the last few weeks have been a blur. But now that the semester has commenced I hope to return to a more standard schedule, including my Wednesday book reviews. I’m excited for the Spring semester to finally start, although it was postponed again this week as a surprise…

Things I wrote in 2017

Continuing a tradition from last year, this is my attempt to categorize everything I wrote in the last twelve months. It’s been a good year! Articles: “The Bonds of Union: Benjamin Rush, Noah Webster, and Defining the Nation in the Early Republic,” Early American Studies 15:2 (Spring 2017): 382-408. “The Angel of Nullification: Imagining Disunion…

Review: Moss and Baden, BIBLE NATION

Within a few minutes’ walk from the United States Capital in Washington DC, a visitor might stumble upon an impressive eight-story structure dedicated to “reacquaint[ing] the world with the book that helped make it.” The Museum of the Bible opened just last month after several years of anticipation. In some ways, it is similar to…

Review: Jonathan Israel, THE EXPANDING BLAZE

About eighteen months ago I queried at The Junto, “What Happened to the ‘Democratic’ in the ‘Age of Democratic Revolutions’?” The post was prompted by the last decade’s work that seemed to emphasize the conservative twist of the revolutionary movements that marked the last few decades of the eighteenth century. Most of this new work,…

Your Holiday Sale for Academic Books Guide

In a couple weeks I’ll post my favorite year-in-review lists—on early American history at Junto, and Mormon history at Juvenile Instructor—but today I thought I’d highlight some great sales going on with academic presses. Who could down a holiday discount? (A big shout-out to William Black, who listed a lot of the press sales on…

D. Michael Quinn, Mormon Capitalism, and New Mormon History

Few figures have been as paramount to the cultural history of Mormon scholarship as D. Michael Quinn. To some, he is an icon who fought for a more professional history and honest approach to the past; to others, he is a critic who fudges facts in order to present a polemical front. To everyone, his…