The Week In Books, No. 47A

Albion’s Seed
is a well written and, in my opinion, important new cultural history of early America. David Hackett Fischer explores how the four main migrations of settlers to the United States from Britain differed and created distinct regional identities in the new world. Hackett takes up each group in turn, describing which part of England each came from, their religious beliefs, and the territory they wound up in, and examines how these factors influenced every aspect of social life in that region. The four groups were comprised of Calvinist Puritans who settled in New England, Anglican Cavaliers who settled in Virginia and the coastal Carolinas, Quakers who settled in the mid-Atlantic, and Scots-Irish Presbyterians who settled inland.

The main strength of the book was Hackett’s ability to grasp how religious and moral ideas were held at the time and how those ideas had consequences that affected every aspect of life. Most modern historians seem almost unable to grasp the concept of a truly held religious belief, and thus tend to gloss over pertinent facts and explanations. Hackett’s extensive research (this volume is over 900 pages long) and footnoting really brought to life how differences in religious and moral convictions affected colonial society, views of equality, education, politics, government, economics, speech patterns, and even how the different groups played sports and named their children!

I found this book fascinating and engrossing, in spite of its prodigious length, and would recommend it to anyone with an interest in early American history or American culture in general. The author apparently intends to continue the series with three other books, and I look forward to reading those as well.

Honey for a Woman’s Heart: Growing Your World through Reading Great Books
is one long book review by an author who loves to read. I enjoyed her recommendations, and made note of 35 books and 8 poetry anthologies to check out. The author writes about how to discern good books from bad, why Christians should be readers, and then has sections for fiction, non-fiction, memoir/biography, Scripture, spiritual helps, poetry, and so forth. If you’re feeling in a bit of a slump about reading, or have run to the end of your book list, I’d recommend Gladys Hunt’s book.

I have read Jordan Rubin’s other books, and found The Maker’s Diet
to be basically the same thing. In each of his books, he adds a bit more, and this latest work is probably the most explicitly Christian and spells out the most detail about how Rubin thinks you should eat. As it turns out Rubin comes from a family of Messianic Jews, and he thinks that we should get back to eating the way that God laid out for the Israelites. While I think that idea has some merit, in that God is unchanging and had good reason for the diet He gave His people in the Old Testament, Rubin overlooks the fact that in the New Testament Peter was told in a vision that all foods were clean. So…hm. Also, bear in mind that Rubin owns Garden of Life, and so he does have a bit of a vested interest in convincing you to use his line of supplements. That said, many of the principles in the book are in line with other research I’ve done on healthy eating, and on the whole it’s a balanced program.

Also Completed:

Currently Reading:
Genesis, Psalms, Luke, Ephesians
“Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte (to Hannah)
“Teach Yourself New Testament Greek” by Ian Macnair
“Personal History” by Katharine Graham
“Honey For A Child’s Heart” by Gladys Hunt
“The Princes In The Tower” by Alison Weir

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