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118BOOK REVIEWS sea. Lord Acton is "more nearly than any other figure the exception to the rule that the Catholic intellectual revival was a convert phenomenon" (p. 37). Future cardinals Newman and Manning, the architect Augustus Pugin, and various representatives of the "American Oxford movement" figure prominently. Chapter IV has a good section on Newman and Orestes Brownson. Ultramontane Catholicism's hardening against modernity is seen through the lives of Isaac Hecker and Richard Simpson (Chapter V) and St. George Mivart and George Tyrrell (Chapter VI). Chapter VH's women converts include the historian Elizabeth Kite, author Katherine Burton, and social scientist Eva Ross. The final six chapters treat the twentieth century with emphasis on the converts ' role in creating, between the two world wars, a transatlantic, Catholic literary revival for which Frank Sheed and Maisie Ward provided the books. Allitt conveys the revival's disillusionment with secular rationality and its conflicted relationship with totalitarianism. Chapter XI, on the historians Carlton Hayes and Christopher Dawson, and Chapter XII, on the novelists Evelyn Waugh and Graham Greene, are especially worthwhile. The preface and introductory chapter summarize Allitt's argument well. In the main, the argument succeeds. But there is one group Allitt ignores. Bishops such as John England, Francis R Kenrick, his brilliant and cantankerous brother Peter, Martin Spalding, and clergy such as James Corcoran, Herman Heuser, and the Roman-trained priests of the NewYork "Accademia," all carried on a formidable intellectual life. They belonged to a Latin-language, Romewardlooking , transnational intellectual culture, the eclectic modern scholasticism that preceded the Thomistic revival of 1879. Though their engagement with American culture was in the "immigrant" style, they stand, along with the bishops and clergy associated with the Americanist movement at the turn of the century, as a challenge to Allitt's construal of the intellectual life. Allitt thinks it time to offer "at least a guarded tribute" (p. 14) to the convert intellectuals and their work. He shows a genuine appreciation for their sensibilities and keeps his thesis sufficiently in the background that each figure breathes freely. His pages succeed in bringing the convert intellectuals to life. William L. Portier Mount SaintMary's College Emmitsburg, Maryland AnAmericanAbbot:Boniface Wimmer, O.S.B., 1809-1887. ByJerome Oetgen. Revised edition. (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press. 1997. Pp. xxi, 466. $39.95.) In 1976 Jerome Oetgen published An American Abbot. It was the first critical and comprehensive study of the life of Boniface Wimmer. With its appearance , Oetgen was able to introduce a host of new readers to the formidable personality and historically influential trajectory of the founding abbot of the BOOK REVIEWS119 first Benedictine community in North America. Publication of this new edition of the work more than two decades later is significant for several reasons. It is a credit to Oetgen that he has made this a true revision. He has incorporated material from a wide range of important works in American Catholic historiography that had not been accessible in the original work. He also did an extensive re-examination of his original sources, refining and re-evaluating earlier historical interpretations. The result is a substantial improvement over the original. The Catholic University of America Press also deserves credit for agreeing to publish this new edition and thus ensuring a wider reading audience. Dominating Oetgen's perspective is a conviction that Wimmer's role has been underestimated in the history of American Catholicism. Despite the fact that no less a scholar than John Tracy Ellis described Wimmer as "the greatest Catholic missionary of nineteenth-century America," this patriarch ofAmerican Benedictines has been largely overlooked in most historical surveys of the Catholic Church in the United States. Oetgen's intent has been to redress that oversight and insert Wimmer's life and work in the context of that history. Like so many of the seminal figures of American Catholic history of the last century,Wimmer's life bridged two continents and cultures. Born and raised in Bavaria,Wimmer studied for the priesthood at the University ofMunich when it was just beginning its period of revitalization under such luminaries as Johannes Ignaz von Döllinger and Francis Bader. Wimmer, as a...


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