David Jaffee of the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design, and Culture has written a generous review of The Way of Improvement Leads Home in the latest Pennsylvania Magazine of History and the Biography. I have long been a fan of Jaffee’s work, especially his People of the Wachusett: Greater New England in History and Memory, 1630-1860 (Cornell, 1999). Jaffee got me thinking about the social dimensions of the Enlightenment with his 1990 William and Mary Quarterly Essay: “The Village Enlightenment in New England, 1760-1820.”
John Fea has written an excellent cultural biography of Philip Vickers Fithian’s relatively short but interesting life…Fea emphasizes how Fithian repeatedly balanced those centripetal forces of friends and family while attempting to achieve reason and universality. …The Way of Improvement Leads Home successfully mixes the particular with the universal, just like the story of Philip Vickers Fithian.