"A lucid, powerful, and deeply thoughtful work. Kaufman takes a very skeptical historian's view of the proposals of several contemporary thinkers, myself included, on Augustine and politics. He is equally frank about those disagreements and charitable with those whose views he critiques. But the book rises above critique; it distills decades of careful linguistic and historical scholarship, and offers a compelling vision of Augustine's understanding of the relation between Christianity and 'worldly' activism. I may stubbornly disagree with (parts of) Kaufman's interpretation, but I learned a tremendous amount from this book, both to my edification and my correction; and the next time I teach anything about Augustine and politics, it will be required reading."
--Charles Mathewes, Carolyn M. Barbour Professor of Religious Studies, University of Virginia
"Political Augustinianism is a venture into a mixed bag of expectations: expect the rare graces of chastened power, compassion, prudence, and humility, but expect as well the dogged persistence of a politics of stupid self-love. Although Peter Kaufman denies that the rare graces ever coalesce enough to draw self-love out of the orbit of stupidity--a claim about Augustine's expectations--he does not consign political Augustinianism to its traditional cul-de-sac of world-weary pessimism. Augustine's Leaders is Kaufman's rendition of the bishop of Hippo's brief on the positive responsibilities of leadership--pastoral and political--in an inescapably fractured order. Throughout this vivid and concise book, Kaufman brings the seasoned perspective of an accomplished and wide-ranging historian of political culture."
--James Wetzel, Villanova University
"With clarity and erudition, Peter Kaufman provides an illustrative study of Augustine's views on leadership both within the Church and the res publica. In Augustine's Leaders, Kaufman offers to both student and scholar an insightful study of how Augustine confronted the challenges of his age and viewed the roles of those in authority. Augustine's Leaders, therefore, presents Kaufman's compelling analysis while advancing the dialogue of Augustinian interpretation among today's historians and theologians."
--Michael J. S. Bruno, St. Joseph's Seminary, Dunwoodie, NY