Michael Hunter is Emeritus Professor of History, Birkbeck, University of London. He is the author of numerous works on early modern science and culture such as The Occult Laboratory and the award-winning Boyle: Between God and Science.
In forcing us all to think more critically about the ways in which intellectual and cultural change happens, Hunter has again made a major contribution to the history of early modern Britain. -Dimitri Levitin, Literary Review In 1971, Keith Thomas published what became a classic study on Religion and the Decline of Magic. Half a century later, Michael Hunter approaches that decline from another angle and offers an alternative explanation. Learned, lucid, acute and balanced, Hunter's book deserves to become another classic. -Peter Burke, author of A Social History of Knowledge This is an important and remarkable book, the product of a master of the subject and period. It completely overhauls our view of that subject, answering questions which have hung over it for decades, and raises some exciting and disturbing questions for the present. -Ronald Hutton, author of The Witch Michael Hunter, a pre-eminent historian of early modern science, redresses a balance in recent scholarship by examining skepticism towards magical phenomena among British intellectuals of the early Enlightenment. The result is a readable, thought-provoking book that places scientific inquiry firmly within broader historical trends. -Paul Kleber Monod, author of Solomon's Secret Arts Definitely a book to think with. Hunter brings new figures to scrutiny-Obadiah Oddy, Richard Mead, John Wagstaffe, Francis Hutchinson-and expertly weaves them into this tapestry of intellectual and cultural change. -Justin Champion, author of The Pillars Of Priestcraft Shaken