The Revolution of the Saints is a study, both historical and sociological, of the radical political response of the Puritans to disorder. It interprets and analyzes Calvinism as the first modern expression of an unremitting determination to transform on the basis of an ideology the existing political and moral order. Michael Walzer examines in detail the circumstances and ideological options of the Puritan intelligentsia and gentry. He sees Puritanism, in sharp contrast to some generally accepted views, as the political theory of intellectuals and gentlemen attempting to create a new government and society.
Professor Walzer has offered a provocative analysis of the social roots of Puritanism, and in the process mounted a fresh tilt at Max Weber’s tattered sails. He has also dealt the Marxists another swipe for clinging too closely to class determinism. He sees Puritans as intellectuals and literate gentry, as new men who were made new by Puritan ideology… Walzer’s study is both bold and clever…with suggestive studies he has underlined the fact that Puritanism infected the whole of a man’s life, from imagery to military tactics. Like many before him, Walzer is trying to recover the impact of Puritanism on personality. His instincts are splendid.
Michael Walzer is Professor of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton.