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Publisher's Summary

Renowned scholar Patrick Collinson is Regius Professor of Modern History, Emeritus, Cambridge. He states, "The Reformation (and Counter Reformation) was the blast furnace in which the modern state was forged." This engaging work offers a concise overview of the ecumenical revolution of the late medieval and Renaissance periods. Narrator John McDonough's presentation of the spiritual and the secular elements that led to religious reform will captivate listeners.
©2004 Patrick Collinson; (P)2004 Recorded Books, LLC

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Not for beginners

This is not a book for someone who knows nothing about the Reformation to begin with--the theological distinctions between Luther and Calvin, let alone Zwingli and Melanchthon, are hard for a non-Protestant to understand, and the relative brevity of the work doesn't give him time to really hash it out (to be fair, the issues that separated these guys are sometimes hard to appreciate, even when they're understood). However, it is very well-written, and since the author is one of the best-known scholars on the subject it is certainly reliable. It is an excellent overview of a complicated subject. In addition, the narrator is excellent.

17 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

A spinning compass

As I listened to this book I felt like I was sitting on the needle of a compass that had no sense of true north. Rather the author seems to hold a magnet and spins the reader in all sorts of directions.

The Protestant Reformation is a relatively well-defined period in the history of western Christianity. Yet the book begins with a meandering discussion of the eastern church. Then after some mention of the key place of Martin Luther, he discusses how the Protestant Reformation is part of a wider experience of renewal in a variety of religions.

I purchased this book to gain a better understanding of the events and theological developments of the Protestant Reformation. This book is a great disappointment.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Mid-brow, entertaining history

Any additional comments?

This book was detailed enough to teach me something that I didn't already know, but light enough for my 21st century attention span. The listener needn't worry about the author covering the reformation with a sectarian bias. The only weakness I can gripe about is that the author organizes the book to discuss different Reformation-related trends that spanned Europe. Of course, the Reformation developed differently in different countries. Those differences were addressed in detail, but, since chapters are not organized geographically, I found it difficult to keep track of which country's Reformation he was talking about. The author jumps from locality to locality in the same paragraph. Admittedly, I probably would have heard the reference to a different example in a different country if my attention were fully focused on the reading. But, hey, this is an audio-book, which means that I'm always doing something else while the narrator has a maximum of 1/2 my attention.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

boring

much too academic. i had trouble paying attention and wished i hadn't purchased this.

3 of 7 people found this review helpful