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The First American Evangelical: A Short Life of Cotton Mather

4.08  ·  Rating Details ·  13 Ratings  ·  5 Reviews
Cotton Mather (1663-1728) was America's most famous pastor and scholar at the beginning of the eighteenth century. People today generally associate him with the infamous Salem witch trials, but in this new biography Rick Kennedy tells a bigger story: Mather, he says, was the very first American evangelical.

A fresh retelling of Cotton Mather's life, this biography corrects
Paperback, 168 pages
Published July 6th 2015 by Eerdmans (first published March 15th 2015)
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Clark Maddux
Jun 17, 2015 Clark Maddux rated it it was amazing
Rick Kennedy is one of the liveliest scholars of American Puritanism at work today. His conversational style, engaging wit, and deep appreciation of his subject are on full display in this brief portrait of Cotton Mather. Kennedy does superbly what precious few students of early American religious culture are able to do: he makes his subjects come alive. Thanks to Kennedy, we can see one of the most complex, and misunderstood, figures of Puritan New England as a human being, surrounded by ...more
Jan 27, 2016 Ruth rated it liked it
After reading this short summary of the life of Cotton Mather, I stand by my critique of his involvement in the Salem Witch Trials (even his sympathetic biographer concedes that Mather tended to be a bit revisionist and melodramatic in his personal histories and diary entries), but it was nice to get a broader idea of the man himself and the influence he had on America's early development. His writings give evidence of an active, imaginative mind paired with a lively sense of humor and a strong ...more
Jimmy Reagan
Aug 28, 2015 Jimmy Reagan rated it it was amazing
Have you fallen prey to the prevalent misconception that Cotton Mather was the moralistic, harsh perpetrator of the Salem Witch Trials? If that is the case, you do not really know the man. Author Rick Kennedy takes us to the heart of the man and Mather is, in fact, a man worth knowing. Kennedy succeeds in a short biography at what some massive tomes can’t even deliver—a winning biography that is enjoyable to read and brings life to the subject.

I must confess that I came to greatly admire Mather
Oct 22, 2016 Lisa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: academic-history
Beautiful sabbath reading--engaging writing, inspiring story. Even though I am not a stranger to 17th century Colonial America, this brief biography reminded me of some of the basics as well as making me feel like I knew these characters personally. The pictures, maps and walking tour as well as the humorous and imaginative renderings of scenes--really made this important time and person come alive. This will be the book on colonial religion and history that I recommend to non-specialists for ...more
Aug 28, 2016 Bekah rated it it was amazing
This was such an informative, interesting book! I had never heard of Cotton Mather before reading this book and upon getting to know a little about him in the very beginning, I realized that there was a quite a bit of controversy on him. I think this author did an excellent job telling about the life of Cotton and I walked away from this book encouraged and definitely interested in this first American evangelical.

What I Liked: The author was very straightforward in his telling the story of Cott
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