Hot Off Penn Press: New for May

With the academic year winding down and summer break beginning, it’s a great time to dive into a new book! Our new releases this month include a century-spanning international history of economic crises, an examination of medical writing in late medieval England, an exploration of what political philosophy tells us about political corruption, and more. See below for the full list.

Jump to: Featured Titles | American History | Intellectual History | Jewish Studies | Literature and Cultural Studies | Medieval and Renaissance Studies | Political Science and Human Rights | Urban Studies | World History | Penn Museum

To receive email announcements about new books—which include a 30% discount on all titles—sign up here.


The Steppe and the SeaThe Steppe and the Sea: Pearls in the Mongol Empire
Thomas T. Allsen

"By focusing on pearls, Thomas T. Allsen offers new insights into the wider socioeconomic and cultural history of the Mongol Empire. His book is an extremely rich study of the process of southernization and the interaction between maritime and continental trade."—J. J. L. Gommans, University of Leiden

In Thomas T. Allsen's analysis, pearls illuminate Mongolian exceptionalism in steppe history, the interconnections between overland and seaborne trade, recurrent patterns in the employment of luxury goods in the political cultures of empires, and the consequences of such goods for local and regional economies.

Full Description, Table of Contents, and More

240 pages | 6 x 9 | 9 illus.
Hardcover | ISBN 978-0-8122-5117-3 | $45.00a | £37.00
Ebook | ISBN 978-0-8122-9590-0 | $45.00s | £35.00
A volume in the Encounters with Asia series

A Brief History of DoomA Brief History of Doom: Two Hundred Years of Financial Crises
Richard Vague

"Just when U.S. regulators and lenders are showing signs of forgetting the lessons of the 2008 financial crisis, Richard Vague comes out with this timely treatise on the dangers of excessive private debt. Deeply researched yet easily understandable, it's must-reading for anyone who wants to understand the financial crises of the past— and anticipate the catastrophes of the future."—Rich Miller, Bloomberg News

Building on insights gleaned from many years of work in the banking industry and drawing on a vast trove of data, Richard Vague argues in A Brief History of Doom that financial crises follow a pattern that makes them both predictable and avoidable.

Full Description, Table of Contents, and More

240 pages | 6 x 9 | 75 illus.
Hardcover | ISBN 978-0-8122-5177-7 | $29.95t | £23.99
Ebook | ISBN 978-0-8122-9661-7 | $29.95s | £23.50


Translating NatureTranslating Nature: Cross-Cultural Histories of Early Modern Science
Jaime Marroquín Arredondo and Ralph Bauer, Editors

"Translating Nature wields a powerful antidote against accounts of the Scientific Revolution that have disingenuously linked the rise of empiricism in the West with northern, Protestant Europe, ignoring the pivotal role that the first overseas empires, Spain and Portugal, played in Europe's discovery of natural and human worlds across the globe. Written by seasoned scholars of the early modern world, this collection of essays reveals a complex information network extending all the way from native informants who provided varied natural and ethnographic knowledge to Iberian institutions and scientists to scientific communities beyond the Pyrenees."—Nicolás Wey Gómez, Caltech University

Translating Nature recasts the era of early modern science as an age of translation across linguistic, cultural, and geographical boundaries. Contributors highlight the vital roles that Native Americans, Africans, and European Catholics played in the global history of science.

Full Description, Table of Contents, and More

368 pages | 6 x 9 | 36 illus.
Hardcover | ISBN 978-0-8122-5093-0 | $55.00s | £45.00
Ebook | ISBN 978-0-8122-9601-3 | $55.00s | £42.50
A volume in the Early Modern Americas series


Thinking in PublicNOW IN PAPERBACK
Thinking in Public: Strauss, Levinas, Arendt
Benjamin Aldes Wurgaft

"In his powerful and beautifully written Thinking in Public, Benjamin Wurgaft explores how three giants of twentieth-century thought, Leo Strauss, Emmanuel Levinas, and Hannah Arendt, grappled with the intertwined roles of intellectuals and Jews in modern society. . . . By situating the relationship between thinkers and their public at the center of his protagonists' careers, Wurgaft brings a fresh perspective to texts that have been thoroughly plowed by countless scholars. . . . A tremendous achievement."—The Journal of Modern History

Thinking in Public examines the ambivalence that public political life and the figure of the intellectual provoked in the generation of European Jewish thinkers born around 1900. By comparing Hannah Arendt, Emmanuel Levinas, and Leo Strauss, Wurgaft offers a new perspective on the relationship between philosophers and politics.

Full Description, Table of Contents, and More

312 pages | 6 x 9
Hardcover | ISBN 978-0-8122-4784-8 | $59.95s | £50.00
Paperback | ISBN 978-0-8122-2434-4 | $27.50s | £21.99
Ebook | ISBN 978-0-8122-9241-1 | $27.50s | £21.50
A volume in the Intellectual History of the Modern Age series


Connecting HistoriesConnecting Histories: Jews and Their Others in Early Modern Europe
Francesca Bregoli and David B. Ruderman, Editors

"Covering a wide range of experience in the Jewish world in terms of geography, economics, class, religious proclivities, languages, and genres, Connecting Histories should be required reading for scholars of early modern Jewish history."—Matt Goldish, The Ohio State University

Exploring the ways in which early modern Jews related to Jews from different backgrounds and to the non-Jews around them, Connecting Histories emphasizes not only the challenging nature and impact of these encounters but also the ambivalence experienced by Jews as they met their others.

Full Description, Table of Contents, and More

328 pages | 6 x 9 | 2 illus.
Hardcover | ISBN 978-0-8122-5091-6 | $69.95s | £58.00
Ebook | ISBN 978-0-8122-9603-7 | $69.95s | £54.00
A volume in the Jewish Culture and Contexts series

The Bible, the Talmud, and the New TestamentThe Bible, the Talmud, and the New Testament: Elijah Zvi Soloveitchik's Commentary to the Gospels
Edited, with an introduction and commentary, by Shaul Magid. Translated by Jordan Gayle Levy. Foreword by Peter Salovey

"The Bible, the Talmud, and the New Testament is a fascinating book on one of the most intriguing and forgotten rabbinic characters of the nineteenth century. Elijah Soloveitchik was, to be sure, an idiosyncratic figure, but the story of his life and work is extremely instructive for those interested in the Jewish Enlightenment as well as Jewish-Christian relations today."—Ishay Rosen-Zvi, Tel Aviv University

In The Bible, the Talmud, and the New Testament, Shaul Magid presents the first-ever English translation of Rabbi Elijah Zvi Soloveitchik's Qol Qore, a rabbinic commentary on the Gospels of Matthew and Mark.

Full Description, Table of Contents, and More

440 pages | 6 1/8 x 9 1/4 | 1 illus.
Hardcover | ISBN 978-0-8122-5099-2 | $89.95s | £74.00
Ebook | ISBN 978-0-8122-9613-6 | $89.95s | £69.50
A volume in the Jewish Culture and Contexts series


Black Walden: Slavery and Its Aftermath in Concord, Massachusetts
Elise Lemire

Designated a "We the People" project by the National Endowment for the Humanities

"Lemire has put together an engrossing portrait of slaveholders and the freed people in Concord."—Journal of African American History

Charting the rise and fall of a community of former slaves struggling to survive on the fringes of Concord, Massachusetts, Black Walden reveals the role that slavery and its aftermath played in forming Thoreau's beloved Walden landscape.

Full Description, Table of Contents, and More

256 pages | 6 x 9 | 11 illus.
Hardcover | ISBN 978-0-8122-4180-8 | $34.95s | £27.99
Paperback | ISBN 978-0-8122-2443-6 | $24.95a | £19.99
Ebook | ISBN 978-0-8122-0446-9 | $24.95s | £19.50


Colonial Justice and the Jews of Venetian CreteColonial Justice and the Jews of Venetian Crete
Rena N. Lauer

"A fascinating and much-needed contribution to our understanding of the Jews of Candia and their legal options under Venetian Rule."—Sally McKee, University of California, Davis

Rena N. Lauer shows how Crete's Jews turned not only to their own religious courts but also to the secular Venetian judicial system to address matters as prosaic as taxation and as dramatic as murder. In the process, Lauer contends, Venetian Jews grew more open and flexible, experiencing little of the anti-Judaism common in Western Europe.

Full Description, Table of Contents, and More

304 pages | 6 x 9 | 2 maps
Hardcover | ISBN 978-0-8122-5088-6 | $69.95s | £58.00
Ebook | ISBN 978-0-8122-9591-7 | $69.95s | £54.00
A volume in the Middle Ages Series

Symptomatic SubjectsSymptomatic Subjects: Bodies, Medicine, and Causation in the Literature of Late Medieval England
Julie Orlemanski

"An exciting, accomplished, and dazzling book. Julie Orlemanski is reinventing the field of literature and medicine, making a signal contribution to the medical humanities while gifting the field of Middle English studies with a bracing series of new interpretations that will influence our readings of medieval and other literatures for many years to come."—Bruce Holsinger, University of Virginia

In the period just prior to medicine's modernity, England saw a remarkable upsurge in medical writing. Julie Orlemanski's Symptomatic Subjects shows how late medieval English writers drew on the discourse of medicine to narrate anew the crossings—and the conflicts—between physiology and personhood.

Full Description, Table of Contents, and More

344 pages | 6 x 9 | 4 illus.
Hardcover | ISBN 978-0-8122-5090-9 | $69.95s | £58.00
Ebook | ISBN 978-0-8122-9608-2 | $69.95s | £54.00
A volume in the Alembics: Penn Studies in Literature and Science series


Religious Freedom and Mass Conversion in IndiaReligious Freedom and Mass Conversion in India
Laura Dudley Jenkins

"Religious Freedom and Mass Conversion in India is unparalleled in its reach. It explores mass conversion over time—from the late colonial period to the modern era; across communities—among the lower castes, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, and women; and in several different regions of India. It is a much needed contribution to scholarship on India and to comparative studies of religion, politics, and constitutional law."—Amrita Basu, Amherst College

Religious Freedom and Mass Conversion in India argues that, although the right to religious freedom is enshrined in India's constitution, mass conversions to minority religions have complicated the practice of this right, which is increasingly invoked to restrict, rather than defend, the freedoms of minorities and women.

Full Description, Table of Contents, and More

320 pages | 6 x 9 | 10 illus.
Hardcover | ISBN 978-0-8122-5092-3 | $89.95s | £74.00
Ebook | ISBN 978-0-8122-9600-6 | $89.95s | £69.50
A volume in the Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights series

Florentine Political Writings from Petrarch to MachiavelliFlorentine Political Writings from Petrarch to Machiavelli
Edited by Mark Jurdjevic, Natasha Piano, and John P. McCormick

"With its masterful introductions and accessible translations, Florentine Political Writings from Petrarch to Machiavelli will serve as the standard reference for scholars and teachers of Renaissance Italy and premodern political thought."—Nicholas Scott Baker, Macquarie University

Presenting nineteen primary source documents, including lesser known texts by Machiavelli and Guicciardini, several of which are here translated into English for the first time, this useful compendium shows how the Renaissance political imagination can be productively applied to pressing civic questions.

Full Description, Table of Contents, and More

336 pages | 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
Paperback | ISBN 978-0-8122-2432-0 | $34.95s | £27.99
Ebook | ISBN 978-0-8122-9602-0 | $34.95s | £27.00
A volume in the Haney Foundation Series

Political CorruptionPolitical Corruption: The Underside of Civic Morality
Robert Alan Sparling

"In his striking and worthwhile juxtapositions of familiar and lesser-known thinkers, Robert Alan Sparling displays a sophisticated grip on the theories of his subjects and makes an original contribution to our understanding of the idea of political corruption."—Christopher Brooke, University of Cambridge

Political Corruption considers the different ways in which a metaphor of impurity, disease, and dissolution was deployed by political philosophers from the Renaissance to the early twentieth century. It argues that speaking coherently about political corruption in our present moment requires a robust account of the good regime.

Full Description, Table of Contents, and More

272 pages | 6 x 9
Hardcover | ISBN 978-0-8122-5087-9 | $59.95s | £50.00
Ebook | ISBN 978-0-8122-9592-4 | $59.95s | £46.50
A volume in the Haney Foundation Series


Transforming the Urban UniversityTransforming the Urban University: Northeastern, 1996-2006
Richard M. Freeland

"Richard M. Freeland tells a compelling story about one of the most truly remarkable transformations of an American university at the turn of the twenty-first century. Given Northeastern's amazing surge in reputation—reflected especially in its U.S. News ranking but also in applications, among other things—this is a story that is of interest to practically every higher educational professional in the country."—Richardson Dilworth, Drexel University

Richard M. Freeland reviews how Northeastern University in Boston, historically an access-oriented, private urban university serving commuter students from modest backgrounds and characterized by limited academic ambitions and local reach, transformed itself into a selective, national, and residential research university.

Full Description, Table of Contents, and More

248 pages | 6 x 9
Hardcover | ISBN 978-0-8122-5121-0 | $69.95s | £58.00
Ebook | ISBN 978-0-8122-9597-9 | $69.95s | £54.00
A volume in the City in the Twenty-First Century series


Gu Hongming's Eccentric Chinese OdysseyGu Hongming's Eccentric Chinese Odyssey
Chunmei Du

"Gu Hongming is one of the most controversial and complicated figures in modern Chinese history. Chunmei Du has the broad knowledge, multiple language skills, and keen understanding required to situate Gu and the cultural phenomenon he represented in the international intellectual environment of his time."—Xiaoping Cong, University of Houston

Gu Hongming's Eccentric Chinese Odyssey is the first comprehensive study in English of Gu Hongming, both the private individual and the public cultural figure. An "imitation Western man" who became "a Chinaman again," Hongming was a reactionary to his contemporaries and an Eastern prophet to foreign intellectuals after the carnage of WWI.

Full Description, Table of Contents, and More

264 pages | 6 x 9
Hardcover | ISBN 978-0-8122-5120-3 | $69.95s | £58.00
Ebook | ISBN 978-0-8122-9595-5 | $69.95s | £54.00
A volume in the Encounters with Asia series


Excavations in the West Plaza of TikalExcavations in the West Plaza of Tikal: Tikal Report 17
William A. Haviland

This volume reports on excavations carried out by Peter D. Harrison in the early 1960s in the West Plaza of the Maya center of Tikal, Guatemala.

Full Description, Table of Contents, and More

160 pages | 8 1/2 x 11 | 52 illus.
Hardcover | ISBN 978-1-949057-01-0 | $69.95s | £58.00
Ebook | ISBN 978-1-949057-02-7 | $69.95s | £54.00
Distributed for the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Journey to the CityJourney to the City: A Companion to the Middle East Galleries at the Penn Museum
Steve Tinney and Karen Sonik, Editors

The Penn Museum has a long and storied history of research and archaeological exploration in the ancient Middle East. This book highlights this rich depth of knowledge while also serving as a companion volume to the Museum's signature Middle East Galleries opening in April 2018. This edited volume includes chapters and integrated short, focused pieces from Museum curators and staff actively involved in the detailed planning of the new galleries. In addition to highlighting the most remarkable and interesting objects in the Museum's extraordinary Middle East collections, this volume illuminates the primary themes within these galleries and provides a larger context within which to understand them.

Full Description, Table of Contents, and More

440 pages | 9 1/2 x 9 1/2 | 423 color illus.
Hardcover | ISBN 978-1-931707-14-5 | $29.95s | £23.99
Ebook | ISBN 978-1-931707-17-6 | $29.95s | £23.50
Distributed for the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Book reviewers: To request a press copy of a Penn Press book, send your name, shipping address, and the title of your publication to

Educators: To request an exam copy for course use consideration, click here.

*Enter "PE14" in the promo code field on the shopping cart page. The email subscriber discount cannot be applied to the purchase of desk or exam copies.