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Book Review - Puritanism: A Very Short Introduction

It's not often here at the Congregational Library that we specifically review a book that is unconnected to a new acquisition or an event being held here at the library — but too many of us like this book not to draw a little extra attention to it!

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The book consists of 122 pages, broken up into seven chapters. The first two provide an historic overview of Puritanism, starting with its beginnings after the English Reformation, and continuing on to describe various experiments in puritan living. The following four chapters seek to context puritans and their beliefs in various aspects of life. In logical fashion, and helped along with illustrations drawn from puritan history, Bremer walks his readers through Puritans relationship with God, the puritan life, how puritans interact with their neighbors, and with larger society. The final, concluding chapter discusses the puritan legacy. The chapters are followed by supporting material, including Bremer's references, suggestions for further reading and study, and an index.

But perhaps the best feature of this book is how accessible it is. Bremer's Very Short Introduction is just that — a wonderfully concise introduction to all things puritan — history, beliefs, society, and contributions. He addresses topics you’ve always wondered about (what did the puritans do in their leisure time?), sheds new light on things you may have once learned but never quite understood, and works to combat long-held myths — and he does it all in clear, plain, concise language which makes this book accessible to all.

I highly encourage you to take a look at this little wonder of a book. I think it has high potential for use in many contexts (I wish I had known about it when working on my undergraduate Honors Thesis a few years ago), and would especially be great in confirmation or new membership classes.

-- Sari