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About the Book

In All the Light Here Comes from Above: The Life and Legacy of Edward Hitchcock, Massachusetts author Robert T. McMaster brings Edward Hitchcock to life for his readers. Relying largely on Hitchcock's own words from his letters, notes, and other unpublished manuscripts, McMaster presents an intimate view of the man, his scientific achievements and his theological writings, as well as his battles with powerful personal demons that threatened him at every turn. Each chapter is introduced with a vignette, a scene from the life of Edward Hitchcock or his family, that reveals the humanity of the man with dignity, charm, and humor.


All the Light Here Comes from Above:
The Life and Legacy of Edward Hitchcock

"McMaster’s biography brings Edward Hitchcock alive in all his facets…The book is eminently readable…I am confident in the scholarship of this work and recommend it to scholars as well as to anyone interested in history."

JOANNE BOURGEOIS, Professor Emerita,
Earth and Space Sciences, University of Washington


"One hundred fifty-six years after Hitchcock's death, Robert T. McMaster revisits the life and scientific work of the noted New England geologist, capturing his relevance to the history of scientific study. McMaster engages the reader with a combination of well documented details of Hitchcock's scientific endeavors and the use of imaginative introductory 'vignettes' to each chapter...McMaster's new study demonstrates that Edward Hitchcock is worth a fresh look."

DARIA D'ARIENZO, archivist and co-author of
Orra White Hitchcock,
1796-1863: An Amherst Woman of Art and Science


"...a superb book that brings to light the person and his times."

STEPHEN GEORGE, Professor Emeritus of Biology, Amherst College


"Robert T. McMaster's biography of Edward Hitchcock, one of the most distinguished American geologists of the pre-Civil War period, is an invaluable portrait of an individual and his era.  Hitchcock was a complicated, conflicted man. He was a prodigious worker who published a great many scholarly articles, books, and scientific studies, but he suffered from deep anxiety about his health, convinced that he would not live for long. A former Protestant minister to a small congregation in rural Western Massachusetts, he originally embraced the traditional belief that the biblical story of Creation was true in every detail, but his careful studies of New England geology and the evidence of glaciation and the presence of fossil prints of huge extinct creatures challenged his older orthodoxies. He eventually acknowledged that some geological evidence was inconsistent with the biblical record, but he insisted to his last days that religion and science were not incompatible. Though his first love was teaching, he accepted an appointment as president of Amherst College, demonstrating great skill as an administrator by guiding the college through a financial crisis that threatened its very existence. McMaster's account of Hitchcock's life, enhanced by more than one hundred illustrations, is thorough-going and readable, and deserves a wide audience."

GERALD MCFARLAND, Emeritus Professor of History, UMass - Amherst


"Robert T. McMaster's biography of geologist Edward Hitchcock, the third president of Amherst College during the mid-1800s and leading authority on fossil footprints from the Connecticut River valley, marks a scholarly treatment of one of New England's leading figures at the forefront of science and religion during a time when geology was starting to command a greater role in the life of the young republic. Among other accomplishments, the book treats Hitchcock's investiture as the first state geologist of Massachusetts, opening the door to a broader movement followed by other states when federally mandated surveys remained rare prior to the permanent foundation of the US Geological Survey as late as 1879. This book deserves the approbation not only of historians interested in the development of the Connecticut River valley, but geologists and history of geology buffs interested in the wider intellectual and physical development of the antebellum United States of America."

MARKES JOHNSON, Professor of Natural Science,
Emeritus, Williams College

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All the Light Here Comes from Above:
The Life and Legacy of Edward Hitchcock



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Ordering Information for
Schools and Libraries

Schools and libraries may order the print edition of All the Light Here Comes from Above through book distributors such as Ingram. Or it may be ordered directly from Unquomonk Press (US only) using the order form provided (click here).

GREAT NEWS: The e-Book edition of All the Light Here Comes from Above is now available to schools and libraries from EBSCO and OverDrive.

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PAPERBACK:  ISBN 978-0-9856944-9-4

Published by
Unquomonk Press
416 pages, over 100 illustrations,
notes, references, index

Three e-Book Editions

All e-Book editions of All the Light Here Comes from Above include over 20 color images as well as links to many on-line sources. $7.99

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