Book Reviews by Etta Madden

My book reviews have appeared in ten academic journals and in popular venues.

Academic Journals

Since 1997 I have shared my reactions to newly published books through reviews published in journals such as The New England Quarterly, Early American Literature, Utopian Studies, Communal Societies, and The American Historical Review.   

For example, “Savory Bites: Books on Eating in Early America,” appeared in Early American Literature 50.2 (2015).  My review of J. C. Hallman’s In Utopia appeared in Communal Societies 31.1(2011).

Also revealing my belief in the importance of good book reviews, I served for five years as Book Review Editor for Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers.

Popular Venues

Recently, I have been posting shorter book reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.  These reviews also will be posted here. I would like to know what you think of these books! Your comments motivate me to rethink and to learn more about others’ perspectives.

Candace Millard and the Library Company

Candace Millard & the Library Company

Candace Millard speaks at this year’s Library Company of Philadelphia lecture

Missouri author Candace Millard speaks at this year’s annual dinner of one of my favorite places to conduct research, the Library Company of Philadelphia. Millard’s book on... More >


Mark Sundeen, The Unsettlers & The Good Life

Mark Sundeen’s book, The Unsettlers: In Search of the Good Life in Today’s America

Mark Sundeen’s The Unsettlers: In Search of the Good Life in Today’s America ranks among the most interesting new books I read in 2017.  Here are some highlights from my  review of... More >


An American Woman in 19th-Century Palestine

Occasionally I read a not-recently-published book that moves me so that I wonder how I missed it when it first appeared.

Book cover of Barbara Kreiger’s Divine Expectations: An American Woman in 19th-Century Palestine.

 Divine Expectations is one such book. Since it... More >


Transitions in Gender and Spirituality: Michael Dillon/Lobzang Jivaka

In the spring of 1962, within a month of my birth and just before his death, Lobzang Jivaka finished composing his spiritual autobiography in India. Almost fifty years before and half-way round the world, he had been named at birth Maude Laura Dillon in the Ladbroke Grove neighborhood of Kensington,... More >


Savory Bites

“Savory Bites: Books on Eating in Early America,” appeared in Early American Literature 50.2 (2015).  On the hot topic of food and literature, it considers three books on American literature and culture from colonial exploration through Reconstruction:  Ann Chandonnet’s Colonial Food (Shire 2013); Michael A. LaCombe’s Political Gastronomy: Food... More >


In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri  (Knopf 2016)

Jhumpa Lahiri begins her memoir of two years in Italy with a water metaphor. Rather than thirst in Rome’s heat or a watery rebirth, the imagery of swimming around a lake seduced me. So starts Lahiri’s story of writing in a language neither her parents’ Bengali nor the English she... More >