Unfortunately, two reviews of God’s Philosophers which have appeared in the UK press are not online. The Scotsman's review was short and positive, so much so that my usual policy of taking the rough with the smooth proved unnecessary. They wrote “The polemical note is as justified here as the fresh and easy approach is welcome. Hannam, the liveliest of guides, makes enjoyable reading out of some seriously dusty history and difficult ideas.”
At the Sunday Telegraph, they handed the book over to the tender mercies of Noel Malcolm, a reviewer widely believed to be the wrath of the heavens incarnate by writers of popular history. He took to task Tom Holland’s Millenium, a perfectly good example of fast-paced narrative history, for not being on the same scholarly level as Robert Bartlett's The Making of Europe. This is about as fair as complaining that the art of the comic 2000AD wouldn't pass muster in the National Gallery.
On God's Philosophers, Malcolm said some nice things: "This book contains much valuable material summarised with commendable no-nonsense clarity… James Hannam has done a fine job of knocking down an old caricature." But he also complains that no one still believes the old story that the Middle Ages when a benighted age of faith when the Church held back progress until the Renaissance. As a result, he sometimes found my pedagogical style 'grating'. No one likes to grate, but perhaps someone should send him a copy of the The Evolving World which Humphrey noted yesterday....
Discuss this post at the Quodlibeta Forum