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Newman and his Family Paperback – October 24, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

Review

As in his first book, Edward Short artfully portrays here the personal influences that formed the character and mind of John Henry Newman. Where Newman and His Contemporaries successfully re-positioned the man among a constellation of his cultural and literary fellows, Newman and His Family charts out the shifting angles and dimensions of a tighter, more powerful ring of influences around the Victorian sage: his father, mother, brothers, sisters, and nephew. Again, Short's well-wrought chapters, with their characteristic grace, aplomb, and light-borne wit, bring a much-wanted human richness to our understanding of a man we are only beginning to know.
-- Dwight Lindley, Assistant Professor of English, Hillsdale College, USA
 
Newman and his Family is a psychological and spiritual voyage around the great Cardinal in the often fraught context of his familial relationships, which will be fascinating equally to Catholics, other faiths and unbelievers. Newman himself said that there was nothing more interesting than the ten thousand little details and complications of daily life and family history. With the wisdom of empathy, Edward Short's gift is to let us hear Newman speak in his own voice, so distant from our own times and yet still so immediate. In this meticulously researched and lovingly written book, Newman has found his ideal biographer.
-- Angela Thirlwell, Author of 'William and Lucy: the other Rossettis' and 'Into the Frame: the four loves of Ford Madox Brown'

'Newman and his Family is one of the most remarkable books I have read in many years. For newcomers it presents Newman from within, as he really was. For those already familiar with Newman's writings, Edward Short brings informed, refreshing, always original, and sometimes provocative insight into the greatest English religious figure of his time and ours. Here is Newman as understood by, and not understood by his family--and what a family! This often gripping book deserves to find a wide readership. I suspect it will become a classic.
-- Dermot Fenlon, The Birmingham Oratory, UK

Edward Short's Newman and his Family is "a work of great sympathetic insight, intelligent reading and wide-ranging imagination which I would recommend unreservedly to all Newman scholars...  masterly..."
--Catholic Herald

Edward Short's Newman and his Family is "learned, delightful and fascinating."
--First Things

"Meticulously researched and elegantly written, Edward Short’s book is a volume worthy of a man who in a long life (1801-1890) played with distinction many parts – priest, educator, theologian, philosopher, apologist, preacher, novelist, poet, satirist, sage, friend and likely saint...  I heartily recommend this work...” 
--The Catholic Leader, Brisbane, Australia

"… an important, fascinating, and well-researched exploration of the family context and influence on Newman’s life and thought.” 
--Geoffrey Rowell, The Church Times

“Edward Short has written an elegant and erudite book, showing how Newman struggled in his thought to respond to his relatives’ views whilst answering ‘the call of charity’…  It will benefit any level of university student or intelligent layperson who reads it.”
--Christopher Villiers, The Theological Review

Newman and his Family "is excellent, at once scholarly and moving. It gives deep and original insights into a man and a family whose tragedies and tensions were emblematic of their age. This is a volume which does not simply enrich our understanding of Newman; it brings a human note to the larger religious and political dramas of Victorian England and thus to the background of our present age. One can hardly wait for the third volume to see what Short will make of the critics, especially the unfortunate Charles Kingsley, doomed to be forever remembered as the immediate cause of Newman’s finest literary hour."
-- Carl Trueman, First Things

"Short devotes a chapter to Newman’s father and mother, and one to each of the siblings. He adds another, crucially important chapter, on Newman’s correspondence with his nephew, John Rickards Mozley, eldest son of his sister Jemima. For the most part, the chapters draw from the letters exchanged between Newman and the person in question. But Short, the author of a fine volume entitled Newman and His Contemporaries, also provides ample excurses on other writings of Newman, as well as representative figures of Victorian England. ...Edward Short’s superb knowledge of 19th century English literature and history illumines his presentation. ...Of all the members of the family, undoubtedly the one closest to Newman’s heart was his mother, Jemima Fourdrinier, of Huguenot heritage. Short writes: 'Newman had a deep bond with his mother—one forged in heartbreak and loss, as well as love and affection—and it showed him not only the vanity of human wishes but the wisdom of empathy.' That 'empathy' is apparent in the letters Newman exchanged, not only with family, but with countless men and women over the course of his long and fruitful life. Empathy also marks Edward Short’s wise study."
-- Robert P. Imbelli, America Magazine

"...a fine, far-ranging analysis of Newman and his family."
--J. Dickinson, Choice

About the Author

Edward Short is the author of Newman and his Contemporaries. He lives with his wife and daughter in New York.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: T&T Clark (October 24, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0567104346
  • ISBN-13: 978-0567104342
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,156,080 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Edward Short is the author of Newman and his Contemporaries and Newman and his Family, both of which are published by Bloomsbury. He lives with his wife and daughter in New York.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie A. Mann on December 16, 2013
Format: Paperback
Much as I enjoyed and benefitted from Edward Short's first book, "Newman and His Contemporaries", I learned even more about Blessed John Henry Newman from Short's second book, "Newman and His Family". I believe the great overall benefit of this book, which describes Newman's relationships with each of his parents and siblings, is to make Newman more human, more accessible, more understandable. When Pope Benedict XVI visited England to beatify John Henry Newman in September of 2010, much of the press about Newman's beatification was negative--commentators emphasized his sensitivity to slights, mentioned his comment that literary men like him are not meant to be saints, claimed he was a homosexual, etc. In the beatification homily, Pope Benedict highlighted Newman's life as a priest and minister, balancing out the intellectual and literary genius of Newman with the image of him "visiting the sick and the poor, comforting the bereaved, caring for those in prison" and noting that was why "so many thousands of people lined the local streets as his body was taken to its place of burial".Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By CS on April 6, 2014
Format: Paperback
It is not in the least unimportant to read about famous people in the context of their times and in their family relationships. Edward Short has done this in his book, Newman and His Family.

Bl John Henry Newman’s conversion to the Roman Catholic Church came at a very high price for him. Short follows Newman’s odyssey and carefully describes how this affected his relationship to his parents, his brothers and his sisters. Each sibling is given a chapter as are his parents. The author takes us through the conflicts, and difficulties experienced by the Newmans, most especially their most famous sibling. It brings to mind that if one “knocked on any door” they would find a sorrow behind it.

If one is interested in reading about how famous people suffer the same trials and sorrows in their families as most everyone else, Edward Short’s book is not to be neglected.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kay Lawrence on June 24, 2014
Format: Paperback
If one is looking for 19th century history Newman and His Family by Edward Short is the route to go. Not only does he bring to the forefront the political, social and religious background of the time, it is tied in to Newman's deep, intimate family life the parents, sibllings and nephew of Newman. In a masterly and thorough manner, Short discusses how each member of Newman's family infuenced what Newman was and what he became. I recommend this book as a positive read of the Newman era.

Kay Lawrence
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Geoff on March 9, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A few years ago I read a good book about Newman and his family (sadly, I can no longer remember the title). It was an interesting look at the topic, focusing primarily on the early years of his life. I had some hopes that this book would provide deeper insights, though I hesitated to buy it for some time because I wasn't terribly pleased with Short's earlier work on Newman and his Contemporaries.

I should have hesitated longer. Before I get to the negatives, though, I will give credit where it's due: If the rest of the book had been like the chapter on Frank Newman, this would have been at least a three-star review and maybe a four. As it is, that chapter saved this from being a one-star review.

What's wrong with this book? It's just badly written and unfocused. The author obviously knows a lot about Newman and about Victorian life in general--he just can't put it on paper well, and he can't decide what to leave in and to leave out.

Want specifics?

1) Preoccupation with irrelevancies: At location 1947 (I'm working from the Kindle edition), Short tells us that Newman enrolled in Lincoln's Inn to study law in 1819. He then adds: "(Gladstone enrolled in 1833.)" So what? Gladstone was a topic of Short's previous book (also badly written). Mentioning him here adds nothing.

2) Cheap shots at people who don't agree with Newman. From location 2115: "If Newman rarely spoke ill of the Irish, Carlyle, like many of the Victorian English, rarely spoke well of them." Carlyle hadn't been mentioned in pages (see problem #1), and there was no reason to drag him in here either. Another example, from location 3253: "Lord Acton, whose dubious reputation for learning is only matched by his dubious judgment...."

3) Telling us what Newman didn't agree with.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bruce on June 18, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The author uses his spin on Newman to justify his own ideology about what it means to be Catholic. And he depicts Newman as something of a nag
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