The Reformation and Counter-Reformation represented the greatest upheaval in Western society since the collapse of the Roman Empire a millennium before. The consequences of those shattering events are still felt todayfrom the stark divisions between (and within) Catholic and Protestant countries to the Protestant ideology that governs America, the world's only remaining superpower.
In this masterful history, Diarmaid MacCulloch conveys the drama, complexity, and continuing relevance of these events. He offers vivid portraits of the most significant individualsLuther, Calvin, Zwingli, Loyola, Henry VIII, and a number of popesbut also conveys why their ideas were so powerful and how the Reformation affected everyday lives. The result is a landmark book that will be the standard work on the Reformation for years to come. The narrative verve of The Reformation as well as its provocative analysis of American culture's debt to the period will ensure the book's wide appeal among history readers.
The Reformation is a learned, enlightening and disturbing masterwork, and likely to become the standard one-volume history. Not least among its virtues, the book faithfully reflects the variousness and confusion of the times, when it was hard to distinguish the madman from the future saint.