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On the Road with Reason

The Swerve, by Stephen Goldblatt (Norton, 2011), Betraying Spinoza: The Renegade Jew Who Gave Us Modernity, by Rebecca Newberger Goldstein (Random House, 2006), The Coffee Trader, by David Liss (Random House, 2003) and Italian Shoes, by Henning Mankell (Vintage) – The Enlightenment – that period in the middle of the last millennium when rational, scientific thinking stomped into the living room of Western religion with mud on its boots – has been much documented, debated, fictionalized and committed to film. Everyone has a favorite iconoclast, from the ever popular Pope-bashers Martin Luther and Henry VIII to such relatively obscure footsoldiers as Poggio Bracciolini, hero of last year’s exquisite The Swerve, by Stephen Goldblatt … [Read more...]