The Wall Street Journal featured The Worlds of William Penn edited by Andrew R. Murphy, John Smolenski in the January 12 issue.
“For all the drama in Penn’s life, Mr. Murphy, inhibited perhaps by his extensive research and devotion to detail, has not quite managed to transform that life into a page-turner. But patient readers may still find themselves drawn into the narrative and Penn’s tempestuous trans-Atlantic world. Such readers may want to go on to read “The Worlds of William Penn,” a collection of 18 essays on Penn and his “worlds” (American, English, Irish and Quaker), edited by Mr. Murphy and University of California historian John Smolenski.
In one illuminating essay, historian Scott Sowerby notes how unlikely the alliance between the Quaker Penn and the Catholic James II was. Penn’s realization that some Catholics, like James, had disavowed religious persecution generally, Mr. Sowerby says, “led to Penn’s signal contribution as a political theorist: he was willing to support the extension of toleration to Catholics at a time when many others, including John Locke, adopted an accommodating stance toward the exclusion of Catholics from full citizenship.” On a less (but also more) lofty note, Philadelphians eager to learn how the 37-foot-tall statue of Penn came to be placed high above them will want to read Elizabeth Milroy’s essay, which also straightforwardly describes a semi-comical, doomed effort to transfer Penn’s mortal remains from England to Philadelphia.”