Rick Kennedy is a professor of history and a sailing enthusiast. In the video above, he is interviewed on his terrific, new biography of Cotton Mather. Below is my brief review of Kennedy’s book:
This short biography by Rick Kennedy is simply superb. All the major (and some minor) things that we want to know about Mather are included. The writing is clean and compelling.
You learn in short compass (145 pages!) that Mather had this incredible combination of gifts: scholar, pastor, visionary, and writer.
Mather also had a wonderful skepticism towards what we typically call false dichotomies or binary traps. Mather’s “trust, but verify” approach to legitimate supernatural events is wise and instructive for us today.
Oh yeah, and if you have the stereotype of Mather being responsible for the Salem Witch Trials, you will definitely need to read this biography.