Books

Jettisoning John Calvin

Presbyterians in Colonial Victoria by Malcolm Wood; Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2008, $44. On being told that there was a new book on Presbyterian history in Victoria and that I should review it, my feelings were cool. There would be lots of grey-bearded old worthies, claimed as saintly or at least very wise, sandwiched between syrupy clerical jargon. But no. This is a briskly and clearly written and information-packed piece of social history, with a lot to say about how an important part of Australian society has developed, warts—of which there are many—and all. The author, a lapsed Presbyterian whose father…

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