Mention history and some might struggle to stifle a yawn. But when presented as a narrative it can often be compelling reading. Stephen J. Nichols takes a key period in time, the Reformation, and presents its major players in a fresh way. From Martin Luther, a simple monk who wielded the mallet, to kings and queens, this book goes behind the scenes to uncover the human side of these larger-than-life Reformers. Along the way readers meet Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, John Calvin, Kings Henry VIII and Edward VI, Lady Jane Grey, Anne Bradstreet, and many others.
For those wanting to see history in its context, Nichols also provides a sampling of primary source materials. It is an engaging read that will remind readers of the foundational truths that can never be taken for granted by the church in any age. Includes numerous illustrations.
Nichols' The Reformation: How a Monk and a Mallet Changed the World, is an OK introduction to the Reformation. It's a broad survey in a little book, complete with fact boxes and extracts from the writings of Reformers. It's also a bit muddled, as it jumps from one Reformer to another in the space of a few paragraphs, and then switching to another country in the next chapter (and even bizarrely disappearing into the Puritan era). It never feels like you get long enough with any individual characters to feel the power of the story and history. It's also... dare I say it, too American for a British audience? That said there's a nice chapter at the end on the contribution of women to the Reformation, which is a nice counter to much of the male dominated discourse usually written on the era. If you're after a compelling introduction to the Reformation, this isn't it. It'll stimulate for a few hours but the book you're looking for is Mike Revees' The Unquenchable Flame on the Reformation.
Total Price: £1.99