For the first time ever a single volume tells the fascinating story of three Roman Catholic civilizations -- Spain, France, and Recusant England -- as they explored, evangelized and settled the North American continent. This dramatic account unfolds in renowned author Dr. Kevin Starr's new book, "Continental Ambitions: Roman Catholics in North America."   It is published by Ignatius Press.
 
Starr was uniquely situated to take on this impressive endeavor. He is currently a professor at the University of Southern California and has served as State Librarian for California. He has authored many articles and books, including the acclaimed Americans and the California Dream series. Because of his writings, he has won numerous awards and accolades, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, membership in the Society of American Historians and the Presidential Medallion from USC. 
 
 
"Continental Ambitions" comprehensively tells the story of early exploration into North America. Starr begins with the temporary settlement of Christianized Scandinavians, and continues with looks into New Spain and New France, and ends with the founding of Maryland as a proprietary colony for Roman Catholic Recusants and Anglicans alike. Influential historical figures are brought to life, and we hear their often harrowing tales as they make their foray into the unknown. Starr dramatized the representative personalities and events that illustrate the achievements and failures of each of these societies in their explorations, treatment of Native Americans and translations of religious and social value to new and challenging environments.
 
Russell Shaw, author of "Catholics in America," said of the new book,  "Many Americans, Catholics among them, know very little about the distinctive Catholic cultures that flourished in North America long before the Pilgrims and the Puritans arrived. Now, thankfully, we have Kevin Starr's scholarly but highly readable "Continental Ambitions" to fill the knowledge gap. The story it tells is not only fascinating in its own right but illuminating for the light it sheds on issues that remain part of the Catholic experience."
 
Starr holds a  PhD from Harvard University, and a Master of Library Science from UC Berkeley. He has served as both the City Librarian of San Francisco and the State Librarian for California. He is currently a Professor History at the University of Southern California, where he is a director of the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies. Starr's many articles and books, including his "Americans and the California Dream" series, have earned him multiple fellowships, awards, and honorary degrees.


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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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