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The Last American Puritan
The Life of Increase Mather, 1639–1723
Michael G. Hall

1988 • 456 pp. 65 illus. 8 maps. 6 x 9"
Colonial History / Religion / American Studies

$32.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-6238-8
$23.99 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7254-7

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

“[I]n The Last American Puritan we have found a standard of integrity and vision for our troubled, baffling, sometimes bizarre times.” —Christian Science Monitor

A critically acclaimed and accessible biography of one of the towering figures of New England's colonial period; winner of The Conference on Christianity and Literature's Book Award.

Powerful preacher, political negotiator for New England in the halls of Parliament, president of Harvard, father of Cotton Mather, Increase Mather was the epitome of the American Puritan. He was the most important spokesman of his generation for Congregationalism and became the last American Puritan of consequence as the seventeenth century ended. The story begins in 1639 when Mather was born in the Massachusetts village of Dorchester. He left home for Harvard College when he was twelve and at twenty-two began to stir the city of Boston from the pulpit of North Church. He had written four books by the time he was thirty-two.
Certain he was God’s chosen instrument and New England God’s chosen people, he disciplined mind and spirit in service to them both. Tempted to “Atheisme” and unbelief, afflicted early by nightmares and melancholy, then by hope and joy, he was a pioneer in recognizing the excitement of the new sciences and sought to reconcile them to theology.

This well-wrought biography, the first of Increase Mather in forty years, draws on the extensive Mather diaries, which were transcribed by Michael Hall.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“What's remarkable about The Last American Puritan is that a scholarly monograph on a fairly obscure figure in American history is so readable and so accessible . . . I found myself wholly absorbed by the biographical narrative. While I must leave it to the academic journals to pass on Hall's scholarship, I can witness to the success of the book as a work of biography with a special resonance for contemporary Americans.”Los Angeles Times

“[An] exemplary biography, by far the best life of Increase Mather to date . . . [A]nd in Michael Hall’s readable pages he seems startlingly familiar, almost a contemporary.”Boston Globe

“A thorough and authoritative biography of one of New England's more important Puritan figures; by the editor of Mather's autobiography . . . A well-researched and fair-dealing work that approaches its subject closely without losing sight of the larger historical picture.” Kirkus Reviews

MICHAEL G. HALL is professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin, where he has taught since 1959 and served as chairman from 1976 to 1980. He is the editor of Increase Mather’s autobiography and the author of Edward Randolph and the American Colonies, 1676-1703. A graduate of Princeton University (B.A. 1949) and Johns Hopkins University (Ph.D. 1956), he was senior Fulbright lecturer at Quaid-i-Azim University in Islamabad, Pakistan, in 1985. Hall lives in Austin, Texas.

Fri, 2 Mar 2018 13:23:57 -0500