Review: The Reformation: How a Monk and a Mallet Changed the World

The Reformation: How a Monk and a Mallet Changed the World is a short book (159 pages) overviewing several of the prominent and not-so-prominent characters in the reformation. Each chapter gives a few events from their lives, how they impacted the reformation, some of their theology, and their most prominent texts.

Overall, I am disappointed with this book, but I'm probably disappointed because I had high expectations for it. It had been described to me as a fun read, one where the author moved history out of the dusty-and-boring category and into the fun-and-interesting category. IMHO, the author did not achieve this; his writing style is not especially amazing, nor is his portrayal of the characters particularly interesting. And worse, because the book is so concise, events in the characters lives seem disjointed at times. For example, in the chapter on Calvin, he attempted to set the record straight on the events of Servetus' death, but he never took time to explain who Servetus was, what he did, and how Calvin had him put to death. Things like this make the book a bit fragmented at times.

Still, the book is worth reading, especially for those who are unfamiliar with the main characters of the reformation; it's a good jumping off spot, a pointer to interesting characters so you can go and find real biographies to read. But even though my 10 year old loves history and biographies, I won't be giving him this book just yet; it's just not that well written. Teens and adults, with a little motivation, should have no problem with this book and even benefit from it.

Interesting note: Amazon has a Kindle edition for $9.

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