‘Outstanding’ recognition for historian

Thursday 29 January 2004

A University of St Andrews historian has been commended by a prestigious academic review journal for his “outstanding” book, beating off competition from thousands of other titles.

The Swiss Reformation by Dr Bruce Gordon, Reader in Modern History, has been voted one of the Outstanding Academic Titles of 2003 by Choice magazine, the major review journal for American Academic libraries.

Each year, in the January issue, Choice publishes a list of outstanding academic titles which were reviewed during the previous year. The list is selective, containing around ten percent of nearly 7000 books reviewed.

The Choice review states –

“Gordon has written the definitive narrative history of the Swiss Reformation. The first chapter provides a wonderful synopsis of the history of the Swiss Confederation, the role of peasants and mercenary soldiers, and the Confederation’s place in European history in the 15th and 16th centuries. Gordon then delves into Huldrych Zwingli and Zurich, since Zwingli’s success in Zurich made the Reformation in the rest of the Swiss Confederation possible. Issues such as infant versus adult baptism, the Eucharist, and the nature of the church are followed in the confrontations between Zwingli and the Catholic Church, Zwingli and Luther, Zwingli and the Zurich council, Zwingli and the more radical reformers who became the Anabaptists, and, ultimately, in a confrontation among the member states of the Confederation. The Swiss Reformation was neither a mass movement as in Germany, nor a top-down affair as in England, but a network of churchmen, scholars, and laity who shared evangelical ideas. Gordon has produced a work of great scholarship that is also highly readable. Anyone interested in the Reformation, early Modern Europe, or in Switzerland will gain immeasurably from this book”.

Bruce Gordon is Reader in Modern History and Deputy Director of the St Andrews Reformation Studies Institute. He teaches late- medieval/early modern history and his courses include Rennaisance Florence, Martin Luther and Germany and Death and the Dead in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe. He is the author of several books on aspects of early modern religion with a particular interest in German and Swiss history.

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