Bainton, Roland The Reformation of the Sixteenth Century Boston: Beacon Press, 1952/1985
As historian Jaroslav Pelikan writes in the foreword to this classic work, “This book has stood for a third of a century as the place to begin a study of one of the most complex and controversial phenomena in the history of culture.”

MacCulloch, Diarmaid The Reformation Penguin, 2005

Diarmaid MacCulloch wrote what is widely considered to be the authoritative account of the Reformation—a critical juncture in the history of Christianity. "It is impossible to understand modern Europe without understanding these sixteenth-century upheavals in Latin Christianity," he writes. "They represented the greatest fault line to appear in Christian culture since the Latin and Greek halves of the Roman Empire went their separate ways a thousand years before; they produced a house divided."

Manchester, William A World Lit Only By Fire: The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1992
The late William Manchester, most known for his biographies of John F. Kennedy and Winston Churchill, also penned one of the most popular and accessible introductions to medieval life and thought. Manchester wrote history as if it were a novel, yet without sacrificing accuracy. In other words, the way history should be written.

McGrath, Alister E Reformation Thought: An Introduction Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1988
It would be difficult to find a more concise introduction to Reformation thought than McGrath’s slim volume. Bypassing the tome that could be written about the historical period itself, McGrath focuses on the specific ideas that fueled the era. Excellent and balanced – a wonderful introductory text for anyone.

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