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Kaplan (Dutch history, University Coll., London; Calvinists and Libertines: Confession and Community in Utrecht, 1578-1620) examines the sometimes lurid and always remarkable history of religious conflict and tolerance in Europe during the period between the Reformation and the French Revolution (from the 16th to the late 18th centuries). Conceding this is a thoroughly plowed field of inquiry and eschewing the establishment of new facts, Kaplan's detail-laden yet thoroughly accessible text acknowledges the roles of contemporary philosophers, theologians, and leaders (e.g., Oliver Cromwell, John Locke, and Voltaire) in quieting a continent contorted by religious conflict. Kaplan's major contribution, however, is to redirect the level of analysis to "peasants and craftsmen, women and minorities" who developed the ability to get along on a day-to-day, shoulder-to-shoulder basis despite religious toleration at the time often having been considered heresy in and of itself. Recommended for research collections.
—James R. Kuhlman