The origins of the German Catholic press in the first half of the 19th century have received scant scholarly attention. In particular, the political character of the diverse Kirchenblätter
(church publications) and newspapers from the Vormärz period (the decades before the Revolution of 1848) has been misunderstood and the importance of these »minor« Catholic presses for the
development of political Catholicism underestimated. Rudolf Pesch’s new book uses several case studies to demonstrate that the church press before 1848 did possess a political nature.In this
detailed history he covers the foundations, the publishing milieu, and the effectiveness and impact of three Kirchenblätter in the Archdiocese of Cologne in the 1840s.
Pesch’s study deserves to attract broader interest for its extensive overview of the entire Kirchenblatt press in Germany prior to 1848, vividly illustrated through
a voluminous documentation that includes programs and important articles. A reliable, well-organized catalog listing pre-1848 Catholic Kirchenblätter and church newspapers, and containing all important
dates, augments the text. Anyone interested in the outward representation of Catholicism today should also be familiar with its 19th-century intellectual origins.