Publication Date: September 9, 2008
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A Catholic Perspective on American History
History is the key to understanding men-whether as nations, families, or individuals. For Catholics, history has an even higher purpose beside. For them, history is the unfolding of God's Will in time, and the attempts of men either to conform themselves to or to resist that Will.
But American Catholic historians have generally refrained from exploring their own national history with these principles, preferring instead to adopt the analysis of their non-Catholic colleagues, save when looking at purely Catholic topics (and sometimes not then). It is vital then, for Catholics, especially young Catholics, to have a good and proper understanding of their country's history. To exercise their patriotism, they must work for the conversion of the United States; to do this effectively, they must understand the forces and events which brought forth not only the religion of Americanism and the country itself, but also the sort of Catholicism which, in 300 years, failed so dismally to bring this conversion about.
This book attempts to reinterpret the better known episodes of our history in accordance with the Faith, and to point up lesser-known details which will give factual proof of the truth of this reinterpretation.
The combination of Puritanism, blind optimism, and materialism... would produce a people infinitely manipulable; any leader who knew how to push the right buttons would get majority support no matter what he stood for, or how much of remaining popular freedom would be eroded.
We have come to accept the notion that, so long as the government is "nice", it has a right to all the power necessary to run the country. The idea that a people might run themselves has become foreign.
But where a King is an individual, and may be held accountable for his wielding of God's authority, the people are too numerous to be responsible for anything. Further, since their desires rather than God's are to be the standard against which all must be judged, anything the majority appears to wish must be good.
"One of the most exceptional and relevant books produced in this century." - Laramie Hirsch, The Hirsch Files
"The book can help us make America Catholic again." - Gary Potter, Catholicism.org
"Coulombe's Puritan's Empire may be as valuable a consideration of American history, as that history as yet produced." - Richard Cowden Guido, author of John Paul II & the Battle for Vatican II
"Puritan's Empire will help you to better see yourself, and your duty, as a Catholic American." - Sherry Foster, The Remnant Newspaper
"I believe that this book is the definitive, formative, impactful work of history that American Catholics have needed for a very long time. " - Stefanie Nicholas
I thought I already took the red pill. But reading the book "Puritan's Empire" by Charles Coulombe makes me feel like I'm being served red pills like a bowl of M&M's.
I highly recommend this book.
This book deserves a wide audience and is a must read for every Catholic. In these present times when many Catholics struggle to discern the difference between Catholicism and protestantism in all it's forms, Puritan's Empire will provide the reader an understanding of how the Church's teachings were put into practice in evangelizing the new world centuries ago and what it meant to be Catholic. You will want to learn more about the individuals and events written about. Each segment within the chapters could be be developed into a book itself. A wonderful read and highly recommended.
This book is useful for anyone who wants to see the history of America from a view that is underrepresented in other history book: the Catholic view. With that in mind, I found the book engrossing and quite informative. Readers who aren't Catholic be warned; you will probably find the author's slant objectionable at parts, or perhaps question some of the sources (particularly the many instances non Catholic America is shown in a less than ideal light, with its worst atrocities highlighted), but remember that every retelling of history has such issues and it is best to consider both sides of a story and think for oneself. In a culture where Catholicism is often demonized in history books, it is only fair to see a take on history from the opposite side and the many details that have been intentionally washed out to often paint the non-Catholic side in a better light. This book will help one realize both the good side and the imperfections of our nation.
My one potential criticism is that are a few parts where perhaps the author's thesis perhaps overreaches, with the author filling in his own conclusions, one example being on some of the more complex issues such as the politics of the civil war with regards to Catholicism, but overall I think he provides a very good summary of American history.
Unlike some other books on the topic, this one is quite readable, with enough quirks to generally keep the reader interested. I appreciate Mr. Coulombe's efforts to include some of the more random details as well (whether it be an aside about explorers pre Columbus taken from the Catholic encyclopedia, or some of the lesser known folk stories of Catholics in early America). The book is an enjoyable read and good for all ages adults, highschoolers, as well as interested middleschoolers.
I especially appreciate first section of the book deals with the often forgotten era of history from Columbus until 1776... the true origins of America. This era is so neglected in many modern history books we see in our modern highschools or middleschools, and I appreciated seeing its significance, both in terms of how it influenced America, what could have been if the Catholic powers maintained more influence, and also how it played into Christendom as a whole.
Lastly, I enjoy Mr. Coulombe's sense of the bigger picture. In ways that only a Catholic would write, he ties our nations history; a string of seemingly random events, together: as a larger overarching image of both Christendom's victories and losses on earth.
Really amazing read. Changes my perspective on American history completely. A real challenge to the traditional narrative. Actually have purchased this book as a gift for the sort of person who actually reads books.
Read this book to discover two things: one, an ugly, creeping shadow which haunts American history with a succession of puritanical, deistic, and Unitarian anti-clericalism, anti-papism, and general anti-Catholic tendencies; two, a dazzling array of saints and pious pioneers who made this land their home, who are too little known and even less well celebrated. This work of history, perfect for catechists, seminarians, priests, and any patriot or history buff who loves the faith, presents the reader with countless well-attested facts, some to lament, and some to cherish, all of which have the potential to dramatically re-color your understanding of American history.
An honest look at the data would lead any reasonable person to conclude that parliamentary republics are anti-human. But we’re so far removed from the institutions which governed our forbears for millennia that we have no idea what else is possible. Or what might have been.
If you’re paying attention, Puritan’s Empire will connect a number of not obvious dots in our history and current events. America is not now nor has it ever been a “Christian” nation. It was founded and has been operated to oppose the Catholic Faith.
Start here to reimagine what a Catholic USA might have been. And might yet be, if we are bold enough to be authentically Catholic.
This book challenges many popular myths about the history of America, particularly its Catholic influences. I highly recommend this book to anyone who would like a comprehensive guide to American history from a Catholic (that is, authentic) perspective.
God bless America!
PE turns over a lot of stones that many would prefer not to be disturbed. Just putting into focus the amount of taxes before 1776 and what we have now, that whole episode, is something more should read about. The Americanism that Pope Leo warned us about is exposed as well. Pray to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception that one day, this will be a Catholic country.
Have read a significant chunk in and I am really enjoying it. I have listened to Mr. Coulombe talk about some of these issues before and it is great to read some more details. Many Catholics do not think critically about American history, and so they miss many of its anti-catholic episodes. Many Catholics try to reconcile America's founding with the Catholic faith, despite the fact that the founding fathers were non-catholic and they believed that the faith should be suppressed. This book will help people understand the Catholic perspective on American history.
Coulombe provides a great overview of American history from another point of view, a Catholic point of view. His angle on American history is one of faith and sharply contrasts the more secular views of American history. I read this book after I read part of Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States" and Paul Johnson's "A History of the American People." Coulombe's work can surprisingly contrast and agree with both of their views in a uniquely Catholic way.