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Newman and History

Published by Gracewing Publishing  |  November, 2017  |  376 pages  |  $27.50  Purchase

Book Précis

In Newman & History, Edward Short shows how important history was to all aspects of the life and work of Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman. 

Here are chapters on Newman and Edward Gibbon; Newman and the Whig historians; and Newman and the law, especially the infamous Achilli trial of 1851, which pitted Newman against a Protestant Establishment still smarting from the restoration of the Catholic hierarchy, or what the Victorians referred to as “papal aggression.”  

Readers interested in Newman’s history-laden conversion will enjoy “Newman, C.S. Lewis, and the Reality of Conversion,” while those interested in Tractarianism will enjoy a piece that looks at what became of the Oxford Movement after Newman abandoned the via media and seceded to Rome.  A chapter entitled “Newman and the Liberals” charts his life-long critique of liberalism in order to refute those who deny its historical accuracy.  There are also chapters on Newman’s letters and on his work as a unified whole.  

Finally, the book concludes with a long, far-ranging essay entitled “Newman, History and Hagiography,” which shows how attuned to and appreciative Newman was of the faith of ordinary Catholics. 

Reviews of Newman and History

"A writer of considerable gifts, Edward Short has written two books on Newman, Newman and his Contemporaries (2011) and Newman and his Family (2013).  Now he adds a third, Newman and History . . . [which] focuses on . . . Newman the intellectual giant who wrote on historical subjects; Newman the man who made history himself; and, finally, Newman the historian who criticized other historians for not using historical method to arrive at the truth. . . . Short [writes] . . . with verve and panache. . . . The book reflects his impressive acquaintance with the people, places, culture, conflicts and compromises of Newman's world as well as our own." James McGlone, The Chesterton Review

"Edward Short’s newest book examines Cardinal Newman from the viewpoint of history: Cardinal Newman’s own views of history and how history has viewed him. It is a rich, thorough, comprehensive and scholarly work, yet one that lets Newman be Newman, not what some contemporary scholars want him to be." John M. Grondelski, National Catholic Register

"Newman took sanctity seriously, and his sense of history was alive to the importance of saints serving God's purposes.  As Edward Short shows again and again in this wide-ranging study, any understanding of Newman that ignores this sense of sanctity - which is rooted in the very sanctity of the man himself - is deficient. Thus, the author gives erudite and impassioned witness to a saint who saw eternity in the productions of time and sings eternity to us even now.  In Newman and History, Edward Short maintains the high standard of his two previous books on Newman."  Christopher Villiers, The Catholic Herald  

Newman and History "is a rich and rewarding book. . . . Edward Short is an erudite, witty and readable guide to Newman, never afraid to take on his critics and always giving us a sense of the breadth and depth of this great Englishman and - soon, we hope - great Saint."  Andrew Nash, Faith Magazine

Newman and History is Edward Short’s third book on Cardinal Newman. Those familiar with his earlier works, Newman and His Contemporaries and Newman and His Family have good reason to welcome its publication and to entertain high hopes of the quality of its content. . . . Elegantly written, Newman and History carries a foreword by the British historian Professor J.J. Scarisbrick and concludes with a comprehensive index. I can recommend it to the educated reader who has an interest in the life and writings of Blessed John Henry Newman and, more generally, in 19th century English ecclesiastical history. The author contends that ‘the shelf of good books on Newman is small’. He may well have added to their number."  Brother Brian Grenier, Catholic Leader (Melbourne)